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Ticket to Paradise is a memorable trip: Movie Review

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Pack your bags for a relaxing escape: just as George Clooney and Julia Roberts are on vacation for their new rom/com Ticket to Paradise, so will you be too watching them have gleeful fun in this exotic and soothing night at the movies.

These are two of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, and to see them re-team as feuding ex-spouses at their daughter’s destination wedding is an almost criminal amount of fun. Like the Bali lagoons on screen, it’s shallow and bright, but it’s so beautiful and optimistic it’s nearly impossible to be critical of the trip.

David Cotton (Clooney) and his ex-wife Georgia (Roberts) have hated each other for 20 years, but after they find out their adult daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) has met a man in Bali and after only a month they’ve decided to get married, they agree to a truce so they can sabotage the big day.

There are several tropes common in wedding comedies that follow, and the ending is predictably forgiving and amicable. Instead of playing for slapstick, however, the script is more likeable because the default tone is sincere and romantic instead of bleak humour.

What (predictably) makes the movie sing is the infectious and beaming chemistry between Clooney and Roberts - even in their fifth film together, it’s clear they’re having a blast both playing opposite each other and in the film in general.

But they’re not the only ones having a good time: the supporting cast of Dever (as their daughter) and Billie Lourd (as her best friend) have the same winning chemistry between them, as does Dever with newcomer Maxime Bouttier, who’s endlessly charming and smart as her new fianceé Gede.

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Romance isn’t new for writer/director Ol Parker: he’s best known for the same work in 2018’s splashy musical sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! which also centres on a family reunion on a fabulous island vacation. The same showmanship and brightness he brought to Mamma Mia follows here with his new cast too.

The only part that feels inauthentic is how no other members of the extended Cotton family were included in the wedding, and how quickly the time gap is left behind.

Would you really let your son or daughter marry someone they’ve only known two months? And if even it was the perfect match, would only two members of your family come to the wedding - even if it is so far away?

How much you enjoy Ticket to Paradise is going to vary greatly on your mood and day-to-day cynicism. Those with a bubbly aura will get swept away like Lily and have a blast. A more controlled pessimism will detract greatly in how fast these two hours go by.

But tastes for sickly sweet cinema vary here just like real travel does. Not every kind of trip is for everyone, and this is as close to a cinematic beach as you’ll find. And it’s a great one at that.

Ticket to Paradise

7 out of 10

PG, 1hr 46mins. Comedy Romance

Written and Directed by Ol Parker.

Starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever and Maxime Bouttier.

Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, 5 Drive-In, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.