By Samuel M Acosta
When I originally saw the trailer for “Ticket to Paradise”, it just seemed to be like every other low-quality rom-com that has come out in recent years. I went into the theater with few expectations, really only seeing it because I was going with friends. Over the next couple of hours, however, I ended up having so much fun that I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. This movie does not beat the audience over the head with overused tropes, but rather brings a fresh and effortless take that whisks you away.
“Ticket to Paradise” follows the story of David (George Clooney) and Georgia (Julia Roberts) Cotton, a divorced couple who are co-parenting their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever.) After Lily graduates and prepares to go to law school, she goes on a trip to Bali with her best friend Wren (Billie Lourd) to celebrate. While there, Lily falls in love with a local seaweed farmer, Gede (Maxime Bouttier), and gets engaged to him. Desperate to stop the wedding, David and Georgia go to Bali and commence a “Trojan Horse” operation. As they begin to disrupt the wedding rituals of the culture, David and Georgia not only begin to rethink their plans but also their relationship with each other.
This film is a truly blissful experience that is led by an incredible cast. George Clooney and Julia Roberts have such amazing chemistry and instill such life into the film. They steal the show with how natural they make the absurd premise of the movie feel. Much has to be said for the performances of Kaitlyn Dever and Maxime Bouttier, however, who do more than hold their own and portray their roles strongly. Their chemistry is rivaled only by that of Clooney and Roberts, and their dedication to the part creates a well-rounded cast with no weak links to be found.
While at a glance the plot can feel a bit ridiculous, the execution of the script makes it feel completely natural. The dialogue is so extremely smooth that it is almost musical, which is exactly what a good script should be like. Whether it be the quick and witty banter between David and Georgia or even the encounters between them and the native people of Bali, each and every interaction feels clever. This film does well by avoiding the cringey and over-the-top humor that often plagues modern comedies. The movie isn’t bent on forcing the audience to laugh, they are content with patiently coaxing it out so that when we do laugh, it feels earned and is all the more enjoyable.
Something that I also have a deep respect for is the originality of the plot. While a lot of movies have come out that are built around the idea of children of divorced parents attempting to trick their parents into getting back together, “Parent Trap” most notably, I can’t think of a film where divorced parents are working together to stop their child from getting together with someone. It feels fresh and exciting and the romance that eventually blooms between David and Georgia feels sincere since it doesn’t come as a result of manipulation.
The setting of the film also plays a large part in how relaxing and beautiful it is. Despite “Ticket to Paradise” being shot in Australia due to restrictions in Bali, where the story takes place, the environment is still astounding. Crystal waters and tropical wildlife, along with a significant representation of local culture, truly feels like I am going on a mini vacation.
I appreciate how the locals and their wedding traditions play a part but in a respectful way. I feel as if a lot of films that take place in a more tropical setting mock the traditions of that place as being foreign or odd. While David and Georgia do show some confusion about them, they are portrayed as important and treated with respect. Instead of feeling like I am supposed to laugh at the traditions, I feel connected to them and am more fascinated than anything.
I absolutely adore this movie and I think that is largely because it breaks the stereotypes set by its genre so well. Nothing feels cliche or forced. It is such an enjoyable experience that feels so genuine and sincere and loving. Even in its ridiculousness, I keep buying into every little thing. If you want to spend a couple hours just enjoying yourself, this film should be next on your watch list.
I give “Ticket to Paradise” a 9/10
“Ticket to Paradise” is now playing at a theater near you
Samuel M Acosta is a Senior Theatre Comprehensive Major and an Arts and Entertainment writer for Cedars. He likes spending his time watching movies, drinking Dr. Pepper and writing plays.
Images courtesy of Universal Pictures