Ticket To Paradise is a classic screwball comedy, written and directed by British filmmaker Ol Parker, known for the the 2018 musical film Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. His new work banks upon the charisma of Hollywood actors Julia Roberts and George Clooney, who convey the eternal grandeur of American cinema.
Divorced parents Georgia (Julia Roberts) and David (George Clooney) impulsively married when they were very young. They want to prevent their daughter Lily (Kaitylin Dever) — who fresh out of college during a Balinese trip falls in love with Gede (Maxime Bouttier) — from making the same mistake they think they made twenty-five years before. The two parents who can’t stand each other find one common ground: fly all the way to Indonesia to sabotage the marriage between their daughter and the seaweed farmer. But in the perfect tradition of aspirational romantic comedies the plan will bring love and surrender for all, instead of conflict and separation. The film also features the talented French actor from Emily in Paris, Lucas Bravo — playing Paul, Georgia’s pilot boyfriend who showers her with romantic surprises — and Billie Lourd as Wren, Lily’s effervescent BFF.
The plotting is utterly predictable, but enjoyable for its carpe diem message, as the couple of divorcees contemplates a second chance at love while trying to boycott the union between their beloved daughter and a young man they believe isn’t good enough for her. The exoticism of Bali is extensively make believe, since filming took place in Queensland, Australia. However Indonesian culture is homaged on screen with the depiction of wedding traditions and other local customs.
The script’s denouement does not have any plot twists, but entertains abundantly thanks to the irreverent banter that takes place between Georgia and David. We are introduced to their conflictual rapport from the very beginning with an occasional split-screen that brings forth the divergent perspectives on the failure of their marriage, as they enjoy their lavish separate lifestyles. Georgia dedicates her days to art dealing in Los Angeles, whereas David is a successful lawyer in Chicago. From the minute they meet again on the plane, the odi et amo dynamic begins.
The chemistry between longtime friends Julia Roberts and George Clooney — who had already worked together in Oceans’ Eleven, Oceans’ Twelve and Money Monster — allows extraordinary moments of amusement. This is epitomised by the scene where they flaunt their dance moves to Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now), at a bar where beer pong games drinking Bali’s local liquor, Arak, get out of control.
The feel-good comedy provides the escapism we need in this post-pandemic time. The very protagonists shared in an interview with The New York Times, how the production of the film made them feel closer in a moment in history that was challenging for everyone. Julia Roberts stayed in a home by herself and became part of George Clooney’s family who was residing close by with his wife Amal and their children. The American actress said, “The Clooneys saved me from complete loneliness and despair. We were in a bubble, and it’s the longest I’ve ever been away from my family.” Now that the film is in theatres it bestows an uplifting feeling, as it tickles the desire to travel again after the world shut its doors for over two years.
Ticket To Paradise evokes a classic of the Hollywood Golden Age: George Cuckor’s 1940 film The Philadelphia Story with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. The 21st century revival of the Comedy of remarriage genre shows how the elective affinity between exes can lead to a happy ending, but not before traversing a series of gimmicks that serve as a path to self-discovery.
Final Grade: B