First-Class Talent Get Bumped To Economy Class ‘Ticket To Paradise’

Ticket to Paradise is one of those movies that seems to live in the Nancy Myers world where everyone is very well off financially and seems to have the means and abilities to drop everything they’re doing and travel halfway across the country on a moment’s notice. I give director Ol Parker credit for adding a little diversity to the movie by setting it around Bali. Myers seems to make movies that exist in a WASP utopia that Steve Martin made a joke about the movies this past week on Saturday Nght Live.

The characters at the center of Ticket seem to be so well off a problem for characters is when two of them have to sit together in first class. The nerve, right? The movie reunites George Clooney and Julia Roberts for the first time since 2016 when they were in Money Monster. They play David Cotton and Georgia Cotton (a name that only a Brit like Parker would think is funny). David and Georgia were married about 25 years earlier fresh out of college.

Here, the filmmakers ask us to suspended a lot of disbelief, especially since 25 years ago, Roberts appeared in My Best Friend’s Wedding playing a woman who was well into adulthood. Hell, 25 years ago, I was in college. And Clooney was getting credit for his Caesar-style haircut as he was the Doctor McDreamy of the era on ER. Roberts is now 55 while Clooney is 61. By no means, do they look like they are in their mid to late 40s.

Anyway, David and Georgia have been divorced for 20 years and rather than move on, they seem to spend every moment they have telling someone about how bad it was. They divorced after about five years with only one daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) who’s about to graduate from law school. And they have to sit next to each other both at the graudation ceremony to rekindle this feud. But Lily and her college friend, Wren Butler (an underused Billie Lourd), head off to the tropics but find themselves stranded at sea when snorkeling. So, a young man, Gede (Maxime Bouttier) comes by in a boat and Gede and Lily are smitten with each other.

Flash forward about a month or so later and they’re engaged to get married almost as fast as they’ve been together. Lily has told her parents that she’s going to stay in Bali after she gets married and work for the seaward farming businesses that Gede’s family is a part of. So, naturally, David and Georgia take off to Bali to end the marriage. And argue a lot along the way. Call it My Only Child’s Wedding for Roberts or One Fine Wedding for Clooney.

I know, it’s supposed to be a light-hearted comedy, but this is the same plotline that’s been used many times before and better. The movie sidesteps the elephant in the room that David and Georgia might be upset that their daughter is marrying someone from Indonesia, but they’re more worried that she’s not thinking of becoming a lawyer. In all fairness, Lily still needs to study for the bar and has been in college at least seven years so I think she’s due for a little R&R. Even though they say they’re going to be working together, David and Georgia butt heads and get themselves in more trouble in screwball comedy fashion. Added to the mix is the arrival of Georgia’s beau, Paul (Lucas Bravo), an airline pilot, and there is some charm in his role along with Georgia.

I give the filmmakers credit for sidestepping what we think is going to be an awkward moment between David and Wren when they find themselves at a bar late at night. Normally, you know where this scene is headed but it’s more about David realizing how their marriage drifted as he’s able to talk to someone different for a change. David and Georgia went to college in Chicago and then Georgia got a good offer to go to Los Angeles. But David propose to her at the graduation to keep her from going. And you get the feeling they’ve regretted it ever since.

So they’re that’s why they’re trying to keep Lily from being married even though she’s in love with Gede who can see what’s going on, but keeps quiet. There’s a whole lot of slapstick issues. The Indonesian characters disappear so much in the script that everyone with the excpetion of Gede becomes an extra. It’s like Parker and his co-writer Daniel Pipski decided it’s best to limit the cultural gap jokes to where David and Georgia are the butt of the jokes.

Clooney and Roberts are a delight to see together again. This is their fifth time working together, even though they didn’t really appear much on screen during Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which Clooney directed. They have a nice spark together. And the entire cast looks like they’re having fun. How could they not? Filming took place in and around Queensland, Australia, doubling for Bali. And unlike the Adam Sandler movies where he films movies with his friends so they can have a vacation, the cast and crew at least put forth an effort.

But you’re so many steps ahead of the plot that when it seems to go a different way, you’re hoping it does. There’s nothing wrong with Paul other than he suffers from the same problems most of the other boyfriends like him in movies suffer. He’s not played by the lead A-list star. Eventually, everyone has a heart-to-heart. The wedding goes on as scheduled and it’s a great one. And everyone is all Happy Gilmore at the end.

You don’t really have to think too much and Ticket made some nice money at the box office, at $166 million, despite the mixed to good reviews. It’s the type of movie you watch on a weekend afternoon when you and your partner can’t make a decision on what you want to see. You laugh a little and you’re wowed by the scenery. But a year from now, you probably won’t remember you watched it.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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