“A divorced couple teams up and travels to Bali to stop their daughter from making the same mistake they think they made 25 years ago.”

Director: OI Parker
Writers: OI Parker, Daniel Pipski
Staring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts. Kaitlyn Dever, Maxime Bouttier
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: October 21, 2022

Lily Cotton (Kaitlyn Dever) is a young woman who has been working non-stop in law school with her best friend Wren (Billie Lourd). She is exhausted and excited to go on vacation to a tropical place and have no stress follow her before entering the real world.

What Lily did not expect was to fall head over heels in love for local heartthrob Gede (Maxime Bouttier). The two become attached at the hip and decide to get married and spend the rest of their lives with each other.

This is does sit well with Lily’s parents, David (George Clooney) and Georgia (Julia Roberts). The two have been divorced for a long time and hold ancient resentment for each other, but they must come together to save their daughter from the same mistakes they made 25 years ago, David and Georgia travel to meet their daughter and plan to trojan horse her nuptials, but naturally all things go a bit a stray when love’s strings get tangled.

In the end, David and Georgia have to go through some personal growth and learn to trust in their daughter that she knows what is best for her. All of this personal growth comes with necessary hijinks, beautiful beaches and uplifting family themes.

Gede (Maxime Bouttier) and Lily (Kaitlyn Dever)

George Clooney is absolutely fantastic. Clooney has it. Whatever it is. He has the magnetism, charm, charisma and silver-fox look that every man wishes that they had. He has the qualities that make him the perfect romantic comedy partner. Even Matthew McConaughey at his prime could not lick the boots of what Clooney has to offer.

This is the first romantic comedy that George Clooney has done since One Fine Day (1996), which he starred opposite of Michelle Pfeiffer. The movie was nominated for an Oscar, all be it for Best Original Song.

Clooney has not done pure rom-comes since the late 1990s, but he has done parts in movies where comedy has mixed with love. Many of those movies starred his costar from Ticket To Paradise, Julia Roberts. This is the fifth time the pair of remarkably attractive people have worked together, with a pair of their other notable projects being Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and the real love bug of the Ocean’s Twelve (2004).

I am here to say that in Ticket To Paradise, George Clooney absolutely blows Julia Roberts out of the water. It is not even fair. I wish that Roberts could step toe-to-toe with Clooney, but she gets TKO’d the first time that Clooney snaps his half-teeth grin.

The one-time Oscar winner has some fun playing Georgia, but not nearly as much as Clooney. It is a shame because Roberts is at her best in the movie when she is alongside her co-star, but her characters spends too much time with her over-pleasing boyfriend, Paul (Lucas Bravo).

Lucas Bravo as Paul

This is the worst plot thread of the movie. You could have had Georgia have some boyfriend at home and not bring him into the tropical paradise of Ticker To Paradise. I mean no disrespect to Lucas Bravo the actor…but every time he appeared on the screen I got unhappy. Cringe humor is not my forte, and his failed attempts at marriage proposals had me walking out of the room to go refill my coffee cup.

The character of Paul ruined the finale to the best sequence of the movie. David, Georgia, Lily and Gede playing beer pong followed by the morning after was the hardest I’ve laughed in the movie. I could imagine director and writer OI Parker just telling the four of them to have a blast and they will just keep the cameras rolling. Clooney doing horrendous dance movies. Roberts flashing her iconic smile. Dever and Bouttier happily accepting to be along for the ride while the heavyweights showed that the stars can have fun too.

Then the morning after scene. It is a classic of many romantic comedies, but if it ain’t fix, then don’t break it.

Maybe the reason the beer pong scene hits so strong is because it is when David and Georgia are at their most likeable.

Can we be honest here? The parents of the betrothed daughter are kind of…assholes? Heading into the movie you know that they are not a fan of their daughter getting married to someone that she just met…but if anyone expected them to be as conniving as stealing the rings…well they are lying.

It is hard to root for them. It is hard to root for David and Georgia. Do you want the main characters in a romantic comedy to both be assholes? I know it is a character redemption arc, but still. Really throws you for a loop when they are rooting for their daughters unhappiness.

I for one am never rooting against the character Lily Cotton, or Kaitlyn Dever as an actress. I put stock in her after I saw Booksmart (2019). She is wonderful. Her part is simple; be fucking adorable and make everyone root for you. Speaking on behalf of American, Devers accomplished the mission.

Her love interest in Ticket To Paradise is part of one of the better plot points of the movie. The fact that Gede knows that his soon-to-be parents-in-law (lots of hyphens) are actively trying to ruin the marriage but still keeps a smile on his face for the sake of Lily…I mean that man has an immense amount of emotional discipline. He is doing all the right things and making it really hard for anyone to dislike him. He is venting to his parents about it but not making Lily’s parents out to be demons. He is trying to come from a place of understanding, and we are trying to understand why David and Georgia are so slow to warm up to him.

Ticket To Paradise has all the necessary ingredients for a blockbuster romantic comedy. It has George Clooney and Julia Roberts star power with young sparks Kaitlyn Dever and Maxime Bouttier. It has a remote destination setting where everyone would like to be, and the ending is happy go-lucky. However, even with all these things going for it, Ticket To Paradise is a bumpy ride. Unlikeable character moments and a bit to much cringe humor sends the audience on emotional detours that make the final destination more of a relief than a celebration.

Check out Ticket To Paradise for a short stay, but don’t anticipate wanting to go back and relive it for nostalgia sake. It is streaming on Peacock.

STANKO RATING: C+ (3.0/5 Stars)

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