The pairing of Julia Roberts and George Clooney is the unique selling proposition for this story about a divorced couple that cannot abide the sight of each other. Georgia (Julia Roberts) and David (George Clooney) are forced to reunite for their only daughter Lily’s college graduation. David, an architect, is ambitious for his daughter’s future as a lawyer. Art gallerist Georgia has a more laidback approach. But when a holiday to Bali with her BFF Wren (Billie Lourd) results in Lily making a life changing decision, the warring, estranged parents are forced to call a truce. The film was shot in USA, Bali and Australia, which also masquerades as the Indonesia island state where Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) finds herself and true love with a local seaweed farmer named Gede (Maxime Bouttier).
Georgia and David get in ‘lockstep’, as David’s describes it, to stop their daughter from making a mistake similar to the one they made when they married right out of college. This entails sabotage, mind-games and all kinds of shenanigans by the older couple, even as Gede’s family is the opposite—warm, inviting and thrilled for the young couple.
A by-the-numbers frothy romantic comedy about a dysfunctional family, Ticket to Paradise is kept afloat by the crackling chemistry of its lead stars. The volley of barbs and jibes and incessant bickering flows naturally. Roberts and Clooney are totally at ease in their roles of middle-aged parents who have lived separate lives for two decades. They spar with delight and then smoothly align when they have to present a united front to their daughter. Their jousting is the joy of this film, as they crank up that familiar charm, wrinkles et al. This is Clooney and Roberts’ fifth film together following Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Money Monster.
It all comes together in a beer pong contest at a local Balinese bar. Lucas Bravo, best known for playing chef Gabriel in Emily in Paris, shows up in an interesting supporting part.
Having written both the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel features as well as writing and directing Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, director Ol Parker is at the helm of yet another feel-good inter-generational romance. For some time now, viewers have rued the dearth of romantic comedies or romantic films. Ticket to Paradise steps into that gap to deliver exactly what it promises—a passable entertainer pegged on its star power, which amuses for its 104-minute run-time and is forgotten almost immediately after.