As much as we can forgive the two legends for wanting to make a film in a tropical oasis during their golden professional years, Ticket to Paradise is a watered-down product too concerned with pleasing everyone instead of establishing an interesting point of view.
This review of the film Ticket to Paradise does not contain spoilers.
Sure, you may have seasoned veteran actors and Hollywood royalty George Clooney and Julia Roberts headline the romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise. However, Kaitlyn Dever gives the “sweet” story of parental protection and redemption the heart the film sorely needed. Dever plays Lily Cotton, who has graduated from law school and her parents have auspicious aspirations for her. She then goes on a celebration with her best friend in a tropical paradise. Her parents (Clooney and Roberts) are divorced but cannot stand each other, flying down to break up her upcoming nuptials.
To whom exactly? She just met a dashing seaweed farmer named Gede (Maxime Bouttier). Wow, sweet, right? It’s not exactly the classic rom-com trope of future monster-in-laws who hate the fiance. It’s the fact that her parents, David and Georgia, hate each other. But there is one thing they love more than anything: their daughter’s future. You may argue they aren’t considering her happiness, but they are in their way. You see, they don’t want Lily to make the same mistakes they did by marrying so young.
If you have your head, big old pie in the sky, Ticket to Paradise welcomely and shamelessly tries to manipulate you into thinking love can conquer all. (Even as hard as the ending attempts to give themselves an out by not committing either way). The more cynical of us, myself included, will tell you her parents are probably right. And seeing how your life and relationship are outside a tropical paradise bubble may not just be sensible but a reasonable choice. Since writer-director Ol Parker (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) specializes in exotic overseas fluffernutter, storytelling isn’t great art. Still, there’s nothing to take umbrage about with a bit of eye-candy diversion. Let’s then focus on what the film does well and where it lacks credibility regarding leading streaming entertainment.
For one, the delightful cross-banter between long-time collaborators in such films as the Ocean’s franchise, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Money Monster (yes, they have made a lot of stinkers together), their sharp barbs cut, but not too deep and have a Sam and Dianne sexual tension that can be appealing. Their teamwork, trying to undercut the marriage, is amusing, and Lily’s best friend, Wren, played by Booksmart‘s Billie Lourd, offers a nice comic relief.
The problem is the script doesn’t offer enough moments of fun or even bristling zingers that the story could clearly provide. There is only one genuine attempt to derail the wedding. Adding additional attempts would have easily added more moments of comedy. Lourd’s Wren sorely needed more screen time, and Bouttier’s Gege is too stiff, with no real moments of friction. When Clooney offers insight into how his marriage crumbled, the moment comes across as empty and even incredulous.
As much as we can forgive the two legends for wanting to make a film in a tropical oasis during their golden professional years, Ticket to Paradise is a watered-down product too concerned with pleasing everyone instead of establishing an interesting point of view, even despite the entertaining jabs and an always-welcome Dever. However, if you’re a fan of this type of classic genre film and would instead stare at some legendary Hollywood figures that offer a welcome distraction from a lazy story, Ticket to Paradise is the film for you.