What we tend to forget about things that are ‘formulaic’ is that they actually have a sense of purpose…
With Ticket To Paradise it’s hard to ignore that what we see on the surface is a studio funded working vacation for two of Hollywood’s most bankable and likeable stars as they run around a gorgeous location shooting googly eyes at each other in an effort to make a rom-com for a demographic that isn’t their late twenties/early thirties. It’s admittedly 104 minutes of nonsense, but it knows what it is….and it works.
A divorced couple (George Clooney and Julia Roberts) find themselves on a shared mission to stop their love struck daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) from making the same mistake they once made.
To say that Ticket To Paradise plays the rom-com playbook to a tee would actually be an insult to the playbook because if you’ve seen basically ANY romantic comedy before you’ll know where this is all going from minute one, but that’s the trick. This truly isn’t a movie about the destination, but rather it’s about the ride because it plays on the desire for happiness that we all hold deep in our hearts and acknowledges how that it never dies no matter our age.
With the serviceable hand of co-writer and director Ol Parker at the helm that audiences would know from the writing The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel & Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again; Ticket To Paradise runs like Swiss movement from beginning to end. It hits all the right beats at the exact moments you expect it all too. There’s nothing in this film that even remotely qualifies as ground breaking entertainment but it all does exactly what is required of it. No more and no less as we follow these older but still obviously beautiful people and their escapades romping around this idyllic setting.
It’s hard to say that George and Julia are ‘acting’ in this film as they are essentially playing themselves as a bickering couple. Their chemistry is through the roof as they can banter with each other probably about as easily as it takes us to put on a pair of pants in the morning. The chemistry and affable movie star charm they have makes this movie flow with ease. In many ways these two as a comedy duo are comparable to the likes of Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake or even Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. I mean sure, the energy they bring to the screen is campy and dumb, but it’s honest which is kind of what makes it wholly entertaining.
That being said, while Kaitlyn Dever and Billie Lourd have some fun moments as our duo’s daughter and best friend, there’s really no room in this narrative for any of the other actor’s to shine. It hinges on audiences enjoying Clooney’s “awe-shucks” kind of smugness and Roberts’ earned self-deprecation about her years as America’s sweetheart on screen. If you enjoy them, you’ll enjoy this.
At the end of it all, that’s kind of why Ticket To Paradise kind of works. It’s not about ‘America’s Sweethearts’ and embracing that hackneyed and often predictable journey towards ‘true love’ but it’s about ‘America’s Estranged Parents’ and reminding us all that you never really lose out on love, as long as you keep yourself open to it at all times. To their own determent; that’s what Clooney and Roberts’ characters have taught their daughter along the way because even though the film has them rocking out to classics jams from the likes of C=C Music Factory and Kris Kross, they needed a reminder from the original chairman of the board himself.
The simple reminder that “Love is lovelier the second time around.”