Think of “Ticket to Paradise” as a postcard of beautiful people having fun in a beautiful place and you’ll be fine. Thinking much more than that isn’t going to help this George Clooney and Julia Roberts rom-com vehicle, though the “com” part shows a slight deficiency in a movie that’s noticeably better than salty.
The salt comes early and often, as Clooney and Roberts’ David and Georgia have been married for five years (she says, when she was 19), returning only for shared events after a not-so-amicable split together. their daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever, as usual, gets very little use here).
Fresh out of law school, Lily goes on vacation to Bali with her friend/roommate (Billie Lourd). for a local seaweed farmer (Maxime Bouttier), married within a few weeks.
The idea that their child is impulsively throwing away their future sets them on a shared mission to stop David and Georgia under the pretense of getting married, though their (mostly uninspired) partnership is riddled with bickering and bickering.
“We need to call a truce to make this work,” says Georgia.
Directed and co-written by Ol Parker (“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”), “Ticket to Paradise” fares better during the inevitable soft moments, allowing fans to move less and feel more. Indeed, the laughs come mostly from the peripheral players, including Lucas Bravo as Paul, Georgia’s hypervigilant boyfriend who has devised a way to tag an airline pilot.
As for that postcard reference, the film was shot mainly in Australia due to Covid restrictions, including some Balinese location footage, and it all looks beautiful; however, tourism can benefit from the various obstacles that the principals encounter with the local flora and fauna, which occasionally become hilarious.
While the exact narrative destination of the film is not entirely clear, these scenes follow a formula long enough to stretch the narrative before crossing the finish line.
“Ticket to Paradise” tends to shine when Clooney and Roberts smooth out rough edges or let their hair down, like they do during a game of mysterious drunken alcohol (not beer) pong. The closing shots show a playfulness that the film itself only occasionally displays.
A versatile filmmaker as well as star, Clooney has been adept at throwing out studio hiatus projects with obvious commercial intentions, and teaming up with Roberts (with whom he also appeared in the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies), that falls flat. in that basket
That said, given the state of the romantic comedy and the rise of streaming as the preferred venue for non-movies, “Ticket to Paradise” may not sell as many tickets as expected. Assuming they adopt the right attitude, however, toll payers should mostly enjoy the ride.
“Ticket to Paradise” opens in US theaters on October 21. It is rated PG-13.