Bitterly divorced couple team up in Bali to smash their daughter’s unexpected wedding plans ticket to paradisewhich hits cinemas in Prague this week a month before its US debut.
The kind of perfectly innocuous romantic comedy that Doris Day and Rock Hudson could have produced in the 1960s, ticket to paradise offers exactly what any reasonable audience would expect. For an undemanding audience, the exotic locations, charismatic performances, and stereotypical but functional storyline make this one an easy and enjoyable ride.
Director Ol Parker previously directed Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel, and in ticket to paradise he swaps the cast of British comedians for a pair of Hollywood stars still at the top of their game: Julia Roberts and George Clooney, who have previously starred together in the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, silver monsterand the film directed by Clooney Confessions of a Dangerous Spirit.
Roberts and Clooney play Georgia and David Collins, bitter exes who find they must resist each other’s company for the first time in decades during their daughter’s college graduation. When they said goodbye to their daughter Lily (Library(Kaitlyn Dever) and her friend Wren (Billie Lourd), on a post-college trip to Bali, also say goodbye…this time, for good.
But a funny thing happens on the Indonesian island: in a cute encounter that begins the same way as The wide, Lily and Wren are rescued by handsome Gede (Maxime Bouttier). A few short scenes later, Lily is ready to give up her law degree to marry Gede and spend the rest of her years in heaven.
Of course, this doesn’t sit well with Georgia and David: not only are they about to lose their daughter in a foreign country on the other side of the world, but she’s also about to make the same mistake they committed 25 years ago. Brought together in a ruthless desire to break up their daughter’s marriage, they forge a temporary alliance.
We all know where ticket to paradise going, but this sort of thing still has to walk a thin line: it needs enough realism that we buy into the story, but not so much that it spoils the fantasy. Director Parker strikes a surprisingly effective balance for most of the film, right up to a perfect final freeze frame.
Clooney and Roberts, too, have us buying into their character’s relationship despite the fact that they’ve been at each other’s throats for most of the film. Playing at each other with the kind of rat-a-tat insults that might have been hurled at a Howard Hawks comedy, they strike up an irresistible rapport over the course of the film – and prove they still have star-power. chops to direct something like ticket to paradise.
The supporting cast, largely made up of Gede’s extended family, including father Wayan (Agung Pindha) and mother Losi (Cintya Dharmayanti), also adds to the experience. Contrary to Eat Pray Lovewho used the backdrop of Bali as a showcase for Roberts’ romance, ticket to paradise digs deeper into the local culture and feels much richer because of it.
Of course, Bali’s seaside locations, as captured through the lens of cinematographer Ole Bratt Birkeland, are beautiful and add so much to the experience. ticket to paradise may be little more than a 105-minute tour of Bali alongside charismatic stars and fleeting romantic fantasy, but for this film’s intended audience, that will be more than enough.