Ticket to Paradise reteams George Clooney and Julia Roberts as they try and stop their daughter’s wedding in the new romantic comedy.
If you’re expecting to see Paradise from the classic John Prine song, I’m sorry to disappoint you. This film has nothing to do with Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. That said, it does star a Kentucky native in George Clooney. In watching the film this afternoon, he’s looking more and more like Nick Clooney everyday. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it just means that he’s not the young actor that he used to be.
Ticket to Paradise is a different kind of romantic comedy–not that we would know from going to theaters. The streamers are the only reason the genre is still alive! The film doesn’t really play into the classic genre tropes because David (George Clooney) and Georgia (Julia Roberts) have been divorced for many years when we first meet them. If not for their daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever), graduating and also getting married to Gede (Maxime Bouttier), they would not even hang out with each other. Both of them believe that Lily is about to make a huge mistake–after all, she’s supposed to start working at a nice law firm in Chicago. Why would she choose to leave that life behind and marry a seaweed farmer in Bali? As they fly to Bali, they are in lockstep with each other in preventing Lily’s marriage.
Before I get into my thoughts on seeing Clooney and Roberts back in action, I need to discuss Billie Lourd’s presence in the film. Olivia Wilde certainly knew how to use the actress in Booksmart. While it’s great to see Lourd–who plays childhood best friend Wren–reunite with Kaitlyn Dever, they can’t capture the same magic. I mean, there are moments where it comes close but it’s nowhere near enough. But then again, Ticket to Paradise is not a teen comedy set on the heels of high school graduation. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn Dever is having herself a solid month. The film’s release came one week after she crushed it in Rosaline, which is streaming on Hulu.
Clooney and Roberts are in peak form as they reteam on screen for the fifth time. Is it too much to ask to see them in more rom-coms together? They have amazing chemistry with each other no matter which genre they are appearing in on the screen. Their five films are short of the nine films teaming screen legends Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn together. Could the streamers help give the audiences what they want? The answer to this is I do not know. What I do know is that these are two A-List stars and audiences are depending on them to help save the romantic comedy genre. I should not have to remind you as to what the stakes are following the release of Bros. The film is sitting on nearly $34 million in its second weekend with a 39% hold. Internationally, it brought in over $100 million combined.
They do not make romantic comedies like they used to but Clooney and Roberts have perfect chemistry in Ticket to Paradise. This is the sort of film that I’m glad to have seen in a theater even if there wasn’t a big crowd. I absolutely love that it’s a modern-day screwball comedy and references His Girl Friday in its cinematography. If you’re going to draw inspiration from the classics, the Cary Grant-Rosalind Russell film is one of the first places to start. There’s nothing like the shared communal experience when it comes to watching comedy movies. I gave some thought to waiting for Peacock but it’s Clooney and Roberts. For talent of their caliber, one must see them on the big screen! Of course, I understand with people being cautious due to the pandemic or the absurd cost of tickets in some markets.
DIRECTOR: Ol Parker
SCREENWRITERS: Ol Parker & Daniel Pipski
CAST: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, Maxime Bouttier, Lucas Bravo
Universal released Ticket to Paradise in theaters on October 21, 2022. Grade: 4/5
Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.