Review: Ticket to Paradise


Thank you – Thank you – Thank you George Clooney and Julia Roberts for giving us such a fun film! It is a feast of enjoyment!

David and Georgia Cotton are divorced but find themselves seated next to each other at their only daughter’s graduation. They hate the proximity but unite in competing for who can yell the most significantly as Lily, their daughter, is awarded her diploma. But once Lily’s graduation is official, she and her best friend (Billie Lourd) dash off for an indulgent grad trip to tropical, lush, romantic Bali. There, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) meets a handsome seaweed farmer and soon decides to marry him.

Oh no! David and Georgia know about impulsive marriage mistakes! Though both are invited to the sudden marriage, they conspire to sabotage the union and save their daughter.

Clooney and Roberts make this movie. They are funny, experts at slapstick and a variety of heavenly sardonic expressions. Their bickering is clever, fast-lipped, and always a crack-up for the audience. When they challenge Lily and her fiancé, Gede (played by charming Maxime Bouttier), to a drinking game in a local tiki bar, Clooney takes off with old-style ’80s dancing that only makes Lily pray for an asteroid strike. Roberts, fully inebriated, joins George and they become exhilarated in dance, music, and local palm alcohol.

To add to the fun, Georgia’s partner, a commercial pilot full of adoration for the perfect (and older) woman of his dreams, comes to propose marriage. In real life, Paul (Lucas Bravo) is 34 and Julia is 55.

Yes, from the opening moments of “Ticket to Paradise” the film is easily predictable and silly. But hold on! There is no violence, gratuitous nudity, evil shadow, or animal harm. Instead, there are arresting sunsets, jungle adventures, warm water beach scenes and never-ending humor streaking out of George and Julia.

It’s confusing that Lily has been in school for only four years and is graduating with a job as a lawyer without taking the BAR or possibly without a law degree. It is also too bad no filming was actually done on Bali but instead in Queensland, Australia, and its Whitsunday islands and Tamborine National Park. Why not just honestly announce those cool places instead of Bali? Let credit go where it’s due.

However, those inconsequentials aside, with a budget of $60 million, “Ticket to Paradise” profited more than $120 million in its first month out. It delights, it distracts, and it takes you to a paradise of fun and possibility. Thank you, George and Julia!


Director: Ol Parker
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Sarah Harvey and Deborah Balderston
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, Maxime Bouttier and Lucas Bravo
Cinematography: Ole Birkeland
Editor: Peter Lambert
Music: Lorne Balfe
Production: Working Title Films, Smokehouse Pictures, and Red Om Films
US Release: Oct. 21, 2022


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