Photo: ‘Ticket to Paradise’
Winter is coming, Halloween is just around the horizon, and the holidays will be here in the blink of an eye. So, why not take some time to enjoy paradise? If you’re out there looking for a new watch this weekend, ‘Ticket to Paradise’ just hit theaters. A rom-com with the adventurous setting of Bali and a stacked cast of actors has breathed some new life into the October movie line-up of spooky stories and the upcoming award-baited films. From the promotional material, ‘Ticket to Paradise’ turned heads for its reunion of Julia Roberts and George Clooney, who star as a divorced couple that reunites for their daughter’s wedding. The bickering ex-couple form a shaky alliance in order to sabotage the wedding, not believing it’s the right choice for their daughter, Lily, played by Kaitlyn Dever. You may think you know where that story is going based on that premise alone, but there’s a bit of nuance brought to the predictability and enough laughs along the way to keep it feeling fresh.
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Directed by Ol Parker, this romantic comedy makes its audience feel safe and comfortable with its storyline. It’s by no means “profound” and could definitely use some more substance at times, but that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable ride. Movies don’t need to be profound to be good anyways. It was a cute, fun movie, and that’s what it was expected to be.
‘Ticket to Paradise’ – An All-Star Cast
Both Julia Roberts and George Clooney have reached the highest potential and popularity actors can have. They’re respected for their work, dramatic and comedic, and have shared the screen multiple times (including ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and ‘Money Monster’), so seeing their reunion was delightful and was arguably a big selling point for audiences. This is a project that allows both its lead actors to have fun. They get to swim with dolphins, fight over seaweed, and scheme to stop a wedding, what could be more fun than that? In the rom-com genre, leading couples can sometimes lose their friction as the film progresses, or their banter with one another slows down. That is so not the case with ‘Ticket to Paradise.’ The writing and acting establish the dynamic of this former couple, from why they didn’t work out to how they deal with seeing one another. The dynamic remains entertaining and funny throughout the film, and when their relationship and the current status is questioned, the movie handles that dynamic with grace.
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Rounding out the cast is Kaitlyn Dever, who is becoming a more prominent face in cinema, and has been working on a number of recent successes in multiple genres. Just a week ago she was charming everyone as the titular lead in the Hulu flick, ‘Rosaline,’ and now she is, Lily, the only anchor her parents have to one another and the catalyst for this plot. She shares a whirlwind of a romance with Gede, played by Maxime Bouttier, and though their relationship and hasty plans to marry are unrealistic, the couple has enough charisma to keep you rooting for them. Lucas Bravo appears as Roberts’ younger boyfriend, and Billie Lourd portrays Lily’s best friend. Lourd’s comedic talents are certainly under-utilized, and I would’ve loved to have seen her character have more relevance to the plot, but we take what we can get. All in all, the cast is stellar and has good chemistry with each other. This is a fun movie and it allows its actors to have fun. It makes it ten times more enjoyable when you know the people creating this film are enjoying it themselves.
The Parent-Child Relationship
In recent years, filmmakers have emphasized stories that approach parental-children relationships from new angles. These relationships are so complex in real life, it’s refreshing to see that complexity conveyed on the screen. ‘Ticket to Paradise’ is not this nuanced revolution on how parents should treat their children and vice versa, but having the plot revolve around that type of relationship and entwining directly with character motivations gives it that edge. Lily’s parents love her and only want what’s best for her. They fear for this new relationship she has because they care, and because they remember their wedding and relationship as a bad decision. They have some unfavorable views on love which twist their perception of it, but as most rom-coms go, they slowly shed their skepticism and discover what path is really the best one for Lily.
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This theme of loving your child and struggling to let them go is given more weight through the moments shared between the characters. Dever, Roberts, and Clooney play their familial dynamic with truth, complete with all its messiness and complications. There are many nice moments between the trio, and other sweet (and sometimes funny) moments between that family, and their new addition, Lily’s fiancée, Gede. I especially enjoyed the scenes between Clooney and Bouttier, which played on the classic archetypes of a protective father and nervous son-in-law.
It Was a Cute, Fun Movie
So, in conclusion, it was a cute, fun movie. I would’ve appreciated more variety between certain scenes and just a couple more laughs thrown in there, but ‘Ticket to Paradise’ set out to be an entertaining rom-com, and that’s precisely what it is. It brings back some of that early-2000s rom-com gloss that’s hard to replicate. As a movie-goer, you can appreciate the light-hearted tone, and the genre of the rom-com deserves more hype. Why can’t movies just be cute?
Sure, you have to suspend your disbelief a bit, but people watch these types of films because they want the comfort they provide. They want a happy ending, and they don’t care about all the unrealistic aspects woven into the plot. You don’t have to run to the theater immediately to enjoy this story, but if you’re looking for some comfort sometime in the next couple of weeks or months, and you want to escape from the wintery cold that’s about to enter this year. Give ‘Ticket to Paradise’ a watch today.
Cast: Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Kaitlyn Dever, Maxime Bouttier, Billie Lourd, Lucas Bravo
Director: Ol Parker
Writer: Ol Parker & Daniel Pipski
Producers: Deborah Balderstone, Time Bevan, George Clooney, Eric Fellner, Marisa Yeres Gill, Lisa Roberts Gillan, Sarah Harvey, Grant Heslov, Rebecca Miller, Julia Roberts, Kate Macey Wynborne
Music By: Lorne Balfe | Cinematography: Ole Bratt Birkeland | Editor: Peter Lambert
By Rachel Beltowski
Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.
I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.”
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Rachel Beltowski is a screenwriter and film critic, with a passion for character-driven stories and thought-provoking themes. From adventure to horror, Rachel enjoys stories which take the audience on an emotional rollercoaster and allow for personal expression that would otherwise go silent. Rachel was drawn to The Hollywood Insider’s dedication to individual perspectives and positive world impacts. The Hollywood Insider has provided a foundation for Rachel to share her insights and leap into the center of the entertainment industry. Rachel hopes to bring a fresh voice into the world of film and television, and share her love of stories with others.