The phrase “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” gets thrown around a lot when discussing modern filmmaking. Recent industry models and trends suggest studios are more inclined to develop multi-faceted, shared universes rather than the typical star-led fodder that used to dominate the box office. This has led to diminishing fiscal returns for the middle section – a group of films that ‘Ticket to Paradise’ falls into and that used to be reliable in theaters but now find their way straight to streaming.
The Stars Come Out in ‘Ticket to Paradise’
But Hollywood juggernauts Julia Roberts and George Clooney have chosen to step in with ‘Ticket to Paradise’ and possibly save the word from a day when superheroes are the only attraction to see on the big screen, and while they may not be taking the moviegoing experience completely by storm (especially when Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Black Adam’ seems poised to outgross the film long term), the duo has managed to deliver audiences a rather thoughtful and heartwarming romantic comedy.
If any genre has taken the hardest hit since the beginning of the pandemic, it certainly must be the rom-com. The genre was feeling a nervous decline that was only exacerbated by the closure of theaters nationwide, and while ‘Ticket to Paradise’ doesn’t signal that films like these are going to be where they were 15 years ago, there are a few stylistic choices that lend credence to the notion that this style of filmmaking isn’t quite extinct yet.
Julia Roberts and George Clooney play a once-married couple who have been divorced and out of each other’s lives for nearly 15 years while their daughter has grown up and attended college. When the newly graduated Lily quickly falls in love and gets engaged while on vacation, her two parents put aside their differences in an attempt to stop their daughter from making the same mistake they did.
And in this premise is perhaps one of my only real gripes or holdups I have with the entire film – Julia Roberts and George Clooney, with all their joint history as leading stars on the big screen, do not effectively convey that they hate each other. Perhaps it is poor marketing by the film company by giving away much of the film’s resolution within the trailer, but it is not nearly made believable enough that Lily’s parents truly despise one another.
‘Ticket to Paradise’ Largely Overcomes Its Issues
Even with that one small, but still noteworthy, bit of criticism, the film is still a joyous and lovely effort that puts two gigantic movie stars in a tropical setting and lets everyone on screen bask in how rare this production is in 2022. It doesn’t attempt to break the wheel or reinvent the genre constraints that it is working in, but ‘Ticket to Paradise’ reinforces a foundation that has been lost to big-budget, CGI reliant action vehicles. If high quality versions of those films can be made, so can these, and they found the two perfect leads to exemplify that.
It doesn’t have quite the comedic edge to make it one of the year’s funniest endeavors, but the dramatic plot that’s caked in seeing Clooney and Roberts in late-career plays is effective and quality. It doesn’t demean itself for the sake of a couple of jokes – in fact, I would say quite the opposite. The two central romances make up for a story that lays it on thick in the beginning and doesn’t really turn up the laughs until an unforgettable heavyweight bout of beer pong.
When ‘Ticket to Paradise’ is clicking, it is a lot of fun and absolutely worth the price of admission. When it isn’t, it’s still charming and charismatic enough to appreciate and sink in to. Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, and Maxime Bouttier round out a cast worthy of praise and notoriety. I saw this film with my girlfriend Kaylee and we had a blast. It’s a wonderful date night film.
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