By James Wyard
Ticket to Paradise brings the big names in Julia Roberts and George Clooney, who share some sparky chemistry within this formulaic rom-com. It’s on this premise that the film is likely to sell but once we are in it everything is a bit too obvious.
You can predict the ending from a mile away, which is fine, it will reassure lots of people, however when you end up not caring for the characters, then you have an issue. Bickering divorcees Georgia (Julia Roberts) and David (George Clooney) find out that their Daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Denvers) has decided to marry a man called Gede (Maxime Bouttier) from the sun soaked Island of Bali.
The young couple have only known each other for roughly two days, which is enough for Lily to find herself and fall deeply in love. Decision made, we marry. Obviously her parents aren’t keen on this, so they decide to jet off to Bali in order to sabotage her daughter’s wedding – trojan horse style. What we figure out very easily is that it’s the older couple’s story we are really here for and how will this time on the island change their views on each other, hmmm I wonder…?
It’s an annoying premise that wealthy people can go to any foreign place and find themselves, away from the rush and stress of their “hard” lives back home. Bali is the accessory, the luscious backdrop for our main cast to figure out everything they need to. If you aren’t on board with the sentiment of the characters and their stories then everything that predictably happens until the end of the film will be a struggle for you.
The film’s superficiality on all levels leaves you feeling tired in the moments we are meant to feel something. The basic set up and principles of Lily and Gede’s relationship is the standard for what is to come. In fact once their opinions of each other are solidified we can turn our attention to Georgia and David. This is why the audience are here, for a bit of old school Romcom. We plod through the bickering, the big argument, the flirtatious fun and gear ourselves up to the emotional finale. The lack of depth can be felt in the artificially glossed up visuals where everyone looks perfect all of the time.
It’s so serviceable and fitting within a genre that it could be forgiven but it’s hard to get past the lack of imagination. Robert’s and Clooney could play these characters in their sleep and do a good job at getting us through to the end. The film’s recipe is all a bit too sickly sweet as our wealthy white characters sort out their lives amongst the instagrammable locations of Bali. There is a half hearted attempt at showing local traditions in a respectful way but really we learn nothing of Bali and its people are simply a decorative afterthought.
Unfortunately the escapism that our characters get on this beautiful island is not the same as what the audience will get, despite some solid Roberts/Clooney chemistry.