There’s something decidedly old-fashioned about Ticket to Paradise, the new star vehicle featuring Julia Roberts and George Clooney. It’s frothy, light, inoffensive, and ultimately forgettable. Writer-director Ol Parker seems to have intentionally crafted the least-hip, blandest romantic comedy possible. The presence of Roberts and Clooney, phoning in their turns as a constantly feuding divorced couple, is literally its sole reason for being. Well, that and the scenery.
David (Clooney) and Georgia (Roberts) Cotton do their very best to avoid each other since divorcing 20 years ago. Their five-year marriage produced daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart, TV’s Last Man Standing). Against both of their wishes, Lily plans to marry Gede (Maxime Bouttier) in Bali. The time has come to finally put their squabbling aside and support their daughter—or possibly dissuade her from marrying Gede altogether.
The “paradise” of the title happens to be Bali, Indonesia, Gede’s native homeland. It’s there that he harvests seaweed. Lily and her bestie Wren (Billie Lourd) are vacationing when they first encounter Gede. It’s basically love at first sight for Lily. David and Georgia feel like their daughter is jumping off the deep end, forsaking the sure-thing gig she has waiting for her with dad’s law firm. But, as you might imagine, their likeminded efforts to tank Lily’s nuptials stir up long-dormant feelings of affection for each other.
Ticket to Paradise is a well-produced cotton candy movie. It’s sweet and easy to digest, though ultimately not what you’d call “good,” per se. Put it on at a holiday gathering with relatives of any and all ages and it’s sure to garner a few laughs. By the time it’s over (luckily running a reasonable 104 minutes), nobody will feel any better or worse for having watched it. Pretty scenery, attractive stars (with previously-established chemistry between Roberts and Clooney), and a distinct lack of any emotional resonance adds up to an ultimately empty experience.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Blu-ray package of Ticket to Paradise includes a DVD and digital copy. Bonus features include several featurettes. “Return of the Dynamic Duo” details the reuniting of Roberts and Clooney (the pair have starred in several movies together, most recently 2016’s Money Monster). “Destination Wedding” and “Production in Paradise” both focus on the setting of Bali. “Keep a Straight Face” shines a spotlight on the real-life, off-camera friendship between Kaitlyn Dever and Billie Lourd. While none of these are exactly essential viewing, they should provide some extra fun for those who find Ticket to Paradise entertaining.