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TICKET TO PARADISE (2022)  l  Universal Pictures  |  October 21, 2022

Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever. Billie Lourd, Maxime Bouttier

Director: Ol Parker

A divorced couple teams up and travels to Bali to stop their daughter from making the same mistake they think they made 25 years ago.

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REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus

Ticket to Paradise is utterly charming from start to finish thanks to the timeless and endearing chemistry of Julia Roberts and George Clooney, making the film every bit as fun as you expect and guaranteed to leave a big smile on your face. 

 

Sometimes you walk into a movie knowing exactly what you are going to get, and even if it offers nothing surprising or new to the genre, you still have an absolute blast watching it. And that is the only way to describe Ticket to Paradise, the newest romantic comedy that sees the reunion of Julia Roberts and George Clooney on the big screen. Roberts and Clooney are two of the most legendary actors of our time, each more than worthy of all the acclaim they have received. Clooney has made a name for himself as more of a dramatic actor, while Roberts ruled the romantic comedy genre in the 90s with such timeless classics as Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Notting Hill before moving onto some great dramatic films. As a duo, they have done four films together (not counting this one) and have become known for their effortless and incredible on screen chemistry with hit films like Ocean’s Eleven. Anytime Roberts returns to the romantic comedy, my interest is immediately piqued, but when she is paired opposite Clooney, it immediately becomes a must see film for me. And as you would expect, Roberts and Clooney light up the screen and make the film an incredibly fun time from the first scene. 

 

Roberts and Clooney star as ex-spouses who are forced to team up after their young daughter gets engaged to a man she has only known for one month, determined to break up the happy young couple to help their daughter from making the same mistake they made days before she is due to walk down the aisle. The screenplay sets up lots of great comedic moments, playing into both the fighting ex-spouses of Roberts and Clooney and the tropes of the romantic comedy genre. It comes as no surprise that the film is pure fun as the screenplay comes from Ol Parker, who also directed the film, given his success writing other hit comedies in this genre such as Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 

 

Without a double, one of the highlights of the film is the airplane sequence at the beginning of the film between the hilarious but trapped passenger between Roberts and Clooney’s fighting characters, and the presence of Roberts’s character’s younger and gorgeous boyfriend played by Emily in Paris’s Lucas Bravo which gets Clooney going. Though, it is the beer pong scene in the middle of the film that is not only the most memorable moment, but it is one of the best scenes of the entire year. Watching Roberts and Clooney get a little sloppy, booze it up while taking on their daughter and her friends in beer pong, and letting it loose on the dancefloor to a great lineup of throwback tunes is wildly entertaining and captures everything you want from this film in a single scene. Even with the plot being as standard as every other film in the genre, it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself as you watch the film slowly move towards its predictable outcome. 

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Most of this is due to Roberts and Clooney’s energy, which is absolutely infectious. The two of them hurl the one liners at each other with a venom that creates one of the most hostile ex-spouses you could imagine in a film, while also having an undeniable connection that lays the groundwork for their potential reunion as a couple. It is hard to have such authentic and undeniable chemistry between two leads, but every second of the film it feels like Roberts and Clooney are not playing roles but just bringing their true selves and real life connection to the characters. 

 

Kaitllyn Dever is exactly what you would expect the child Roberts and Clooney to look like, bringing a joyful air to the film as Lily while she prepares to marry the love of her life, completely oblivious to what her parents are up to. Bravo has some great moments in the film, delivering some truly killer laughs opposite Roberts, and once again bringing that charming persona that he has in Emily in Paris. Though, it is only Billie Lourd who can momentarily steal the spotlight from Roberts and Clooney as Lily’s best friend Wren. Lourd is always hilarious, tapping into that comedic energy that both her mother and grandmother possessed, and she has some of the best one liners of the film. It’s just too bad that the screenplay forgets that she is there for a good portion of the film, because she could have had so many more moments than what she was given and made the film even funnier than it already was. 

 

While the film is set in Bali, Australia does a great job doubling for a tropical paradise, even with some painfully obvious moments of blue screen that are a slight eye sore, or those jumping CGI dolphins which are not convincing at all. But when the film is this much fun, it’s easy to look past the visual blunders because you aren’t watching the film for that, you are watching it for the reuniting of Roberts and Clooney. 

 

Full of laughs, a scene stealing yet underused Billie Lourd, and Julia Roberts and George Clooney playing beer pong which is easily one of the most entertaining and hilarious scenes of the year, Ticket to Paradise is a truly delightful romantic comedy that goes down like a fine glass of wine thanks to the charming star power and chemistry of its two leads.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5