October is generally popular for dark thrillers/horror or prestige dramas as award season is upon us once more. So seeing a rom-com set in the sunny tropical paradise of Bali is definitely a breath of fresh air. Starring movie star duo Julia Roberts and George Clooney, reuniting for the fifth time since Money Monster in 2016.
Roberts and Clooney play a divorced couple Georgia and David who haven’t seen each other in years, and at the start of the film, they’re shown recollecting their past relationship to their respective friends/colleagues. It’s customary for any rom-com that the lovers in question start off hating each other with a passion. The movie is littered with a plethora of rom-com tropes one expects in a rom-com… bickering on a plane, throwing insults back and forth incessantly, unashamedly trying to upstage each other during a solemn event, etc. That last part happens to be their daughter’s graduation from law school. I had just seen Kaitlyn Dever in Rosaline for the first time, and she’s fabulous in that movie. Her talent is a bit underutilized here as the leads’ daughter, Lily whose sudden wedding plans sets the motion for their parents’ eventual reunion. Nope, it’s no spoiler to reveal something so glaringly obvious, ahah.
Being from Indonesia, it makes me feel a bit nostalgic to see images of Bali in the movie, even though those are likely just b-roll as the movie was actually filmed in Queensland, Australia. Writer/director Ol Parker has seemed to carve a niche for himself specializing in rom-com set in beautiful exotic locations (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Mamma Mia 2) though perhaps all that blazing sunshine might’ve dulled his sensibilities. There’s little imagination to the script, and the jokes don’t always land. As an Indonesian-born critic, some of the cultural humor actually makes me cringe a few times. Lily’s fiancé is called Gede (a common Balinese name that means ‘big’), played by a very Caucasian-looking Indonesian-French actor Maxime Bouttier. Despite being charmed by Gede, Lily’s parents team up to sabotage the wedding as they fear Lily is about to make the same mistake they [thought] they did 25 years ago.
There’s a sweet chemistry between the young couple, though I have to admit I was siding with her parents when Lily, who supposedly was a straight-A student, casually forgoes her hard-earned law degree just to be with a man. I mean yes sure, all in the name of love and all that, but it seems rather regressive to have such a storyline in a time where female-empowerment movies are the norm. Perhaps if Lily’s character had been written as a doctor or artist, she might still be able to use her training in Bali, but not as a lawyer where the legal system is completely different.
In any case, the real story is between the two mega-stars. Roberts and Clooney have been such good friends for decades and it shows… for better and for worse. No matter how good an actor they are, their supposed disdain for each other is not one iota believable. Still, they’re fun to watch when they’re goofing around with each other, and that seaweed-farming scene is quite a hoot. Roberts still has the megawatt smile and mile-long legs, seriously she’d still give many younger starlets a run for their money! It’s not at all incredulous that Georgia’s got a young, handsome French boyfriend (Lucas Bravo) though sadly his character’s written in the most asinine way possible. It’s also a pity the charismatic Billie Lourd is relegated to just the supportive girlfriend type, I’d think she’s talented enough to get her own starring role.
Overall Ticket To Paradise is a pleasant, frothy diversion but doesn’t offer anything new in the genre. Such a far cry from the glory of Nora Ephron’s glorious romantic comedies, or even Richard Curtis’ … Notting Hill remains one of my all-time faves in the genre. Overly reliant on the charm of the lead stars, there’s barely any thought put into character building or some kind of narrative substance.
Have you seen Ticket To Paradise? I’d love to hear what you think!
8 thoughts on “TICKET TO PARADISE (2022) Review – frothy, frivolous fun but devoid of substance”
I kind of want to see this just as some form of wanting something not-so-serious and funny. Plus, I love George and Julia together and that clip of them getting fucking shit-faced made me laugh.
Yeah, it is nice to see something not-so-serious as there are so many dark and heavy movies these days. George and Julia did have a fabulous time together here.
I somehow thought this film already came out months ago! It’s rare seeing this kind of film with two older mega stars being made and release in theaters these days. I don’t remember the last time I saw rom-com but I’m a fan of the two big stars, might watch it when it hits streaming.
This would be a good one to rent during the dead months of Winter, Ted! Julia’s giant smile and the tropical scenery could virtually melt the snow away, ahah.
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I was thinking of showing up to this one purely for the beach setting. Then that way, everything else about it that isn’t terrible is a bonus. 🤓
The tropical scenery is one of the best things about this. It’s not a great movie but watchable to pass the time for sure.