Ticket to Paradise15¦ Blu-ray, DVD
Who can refuse a twofer deal, especially in such difficult times. This one is made even more appealing when you consider that you’re not only getting Julia Roberts starring in a film but George Clooney too.
With the two Hollywood ‘A’ listers teaming up on screen for the fifth time, is it a case of too good to be true or be careful what you wish for?
There was a time when Georgia (Roberts) and David (Clooney) were happy, but this is not that time. Although once married, they’ve now spent a considerable more amount of time hating each other than loving. The problem is however, they still have a bond, by way of their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever).
Having just graduated as a lawyer, Lily decides she needs some time out before beginning her new career, so she and her best friend Wren (Billie Lourd), head off to Bali to decompress and have a little fun.
Just over a month later, it appears Lily has had more than that, as she sends her parents a text inviting them both to Bali, for her wedding.
Both surprised and outraged, the pair decide that this is going to have to be one of those times when they put their many differences aside for the sake of their daughter, and work together in a bid to do the right thing, and persuade Lily, one way or another, that she’s doing the wrong thing.
It’s always made out to be such a marquee event when you get two Hollywood heavyweights to star together. There’s even more appeal when the pair have not only worked together before, but genuinely get on with one another too.
Perhaps part of this film’s problem is the fact that Roberts and Clooney were keen to work together again, regardless of whether the script was any good or not. And it isn’t.
Certainly a bigger appeal would have been working in sunny Australia and Bali, outdoors, during a time of Covid and lock-downs. You could put up with a helluva lot for those working conditions, even if you didn’t get on, so this pair must have thought they lucked out when this script popped up.
It starts off well enough, in what turns out to be the best part of the film, as the pair go into detail as to why they’re no longer together and that they can’t now stand the sight of each other.
As soon as they arrive in Bali however, which is within the film’s first ten minutes, it’s all on a very slippery slope down.
British director Ol Parker, who has only directed three films to date, with the last one being the 2018 sequel Mamma Mia: Here we go Again!, also co-writes this one, no doubt wanting to capture that feel good success that film achieved. And in one sense he does exactly that. Like his previous film, the sunny locale does a lot of the heavy lifting, with lots of shots of spectacular beaches and sunsets.
But after a bold start, which leads us to believe there’s going to be constant fireworks between these exes, it quickly becomes tired and predictable. Worst of all, it becomes safe.
The deeper the film goes, the less confidence it has in itself, resorting to some truly generic tactics, such as Roberts and Clooney drinking plenty then mum and dad dancing in public. And would you know it, they both regret it the next day. And there’s even a scene which has its stars do something that they really shouldn’t, that will have real repercussions for their daughter, but when their dastardly actions come to light, the reaction to it amounts to nothing more than a blank stare.
Another tell tale sign of a film losing belief in itself appears in the credits, when we get a number of outtakes just to reinforce the fact that the cast and crew really did have a fun old time in paradise. Go figure. This is a statement of forgiveness from any film, with the outtakes being a clear admission of guilt, with the outtakes a form of trying to make up to the audience.
There was a seed of an idea here, but the film has no intentions on capitalising on it, instead simply relying on the appearance of the film’s two leads to put bums on seats. The result is nothing more than a jolly for all those concerned, and that’s what our ticket ultimately paid for.