The years of good or even great rom-coms have gone the way of the doh-doh bird. They are almost extinct. Occasionally we may get one here or there that isn’t dumb or contrived or use toilet humor to get laughs at the expense of the plot/story or direction. Ticket to Paradise isn’t one of those films. It has two established stars who know their way around a good or even great rom-com and those are George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Combined they have starred in a lot of films and have been mainstays in the rom-com genre. Let’s see if their streak continues.
David and Georgia Cotton (George Clooney and Julia Roberts) are a divorced couple that is forced to be around one another due to their daughter Lily Cotton (Kaitlyn Dever) They go to her college graduation and they can’t stop arguing with one another the whole time. After college, their daughter goes to Bali on vacation and desires to stay and get married to a local seaweed farmer. When her parents hear about this via email they make a b-line to the first flight to Bali to try and stop the marriage. This is easier said than done.
Clooney and Roberts are like peanut butter and jelly or cookies and milk. They are just an amazing combination of two actors that work together so well. It seems effortless to them to do these types of films. They are so used to being in rom-coms that it just comes naturally to them. Their banter is fantastic. They know how to say the right thing to get the other one to bicker back at them. This is the rare duo these days that are perfect together on screen. This material is as easy as riding a bicycle for them. They never forget how to do it.
This movie could be your average run-of-the-mill rom-com but it’s not. It has a lot to say about marriage and attachment to someone. Also, it is a very good example of a divorced couple who hate each other but are forced to be together because of a child they had. The trip to Bali changes everything for this couple. This place brings them to a mental and physical state that makes them have a different view on life and their own so-called mistakes which resulted in their daughter. They are desperate to not see their daughter end up like them. It’s a tightrope of not being too overbearing and letting their daughter be her own woman.
One of the things that make this movie stand out to me as not an average rom-com is the cinematography by Ole Bratt Birkeland. It is some of the best I’ve seen this year. The sunsets and sunrises of Bali help make this film breathtaking to look at more often than not. The mountains and ocean scenes are more beautiful scenes in the movie. This was like making a movie literally in paradise so the name of the film was quite apropos. People who go to see this movie are getting a literal ticket to paradise. The filmmakers couldn’t have named it any better.
Kaitlyn Dever is one of the best young actresses alive right now. She has been doing award-worthy work for years now in shows like Dope Sick, Unbelievable, and Justified. She knows how to give an emotionally charged performance. She even has done some lighter fare like Rosaline for Hulu and Book Smart, the first directorial film for Olivia Wylde. She’s starting to become a fully-rounded actress. One that should be watched for the Academy Awards in the future. The Emmys have already come knocking. She is just so good at any role she takes, including the one in this movie.
Ticket to Paradise isn’t your average rom-com. It is a delightful surprise. A breath of fresh air. It has fantastic performances from Clooney and Roberts who are consummate pros and can do this kind of work in their sleep. They are amazing together once again. Ol Parker the director has put the right pieces in place including the cinematographer and Dever which makes this movie come alive. In the Halloween season, this might be a shining light in the dark. Or something of a change of pace for people looking to see something different. I hope this movie gets the audience it deserves this holiday season.
Dan Skip Allen