Ticket to Paradise (Romance, Comedy) (2022)
Director: Ol Parker
Writer: Ol Parker, Daniel Pipski
Stars: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, Maxime Bouttier
Vacationing in Bali, the recently graduated daughter of a divorced couple finds the love of her life as she meets a Balinese seaweed farmer. After informing her parents of marriage plans, they visit the island, intending to sabotage a union they’re not keen on supporting.
Premiering in Barcelona, ‘’Ticket to Paradise’’ is the latest in a short line of rom-coms by British director Ol Parker. In which divorced parents reflect their own mistakes upon their daughter finding true love and perhaps rekindling something in them too. Despite a brief pause in production, it was filmed entirely in Queensland, Australia standing in for Bali due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was produced by Working Title Films, Smokehouse Pictures, and Red OM Films while distributed by Universal Pictures.
After graduating from law school, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) goes on vacation to Bali alongside her best-friend Wren (Billie Lourd). They’re accidentally left behind by their tour boat while snorkelling and are thankfully rescued by local fisherman Gede (Maxime Bouttier); it’s love at first sight. Having spent a month together, Lily and her new love Gede decide to get married, inviting Lily’s divorced parents, David (George Clooney) and Georgia (Julia Roberts), to attend, who’re less than thrilled by the—in their eyes, rushed decision and try to sabotage the fledgling relationship.
Initially love at first sight, ‘’Ticket to Paradise’’ reflects on past mistakes. Two parents who’re still not entirely over their past together project their failings on their daughter while slowly learning forgiveness and seeing what is truly important.
While filmed in Australia, the Indonesian island of Bali and its culture are represented in this romantic comedy—an effort commendable, yet feeling too accessible for particular audiences. Still, there’s an opportunity in Parker’s screenplay to see a rom-com present disparate scenarios to others in the subgenre, finding viewers with similar experiences in life reflect much like characters within the flick.
Light-hearted romance, as Dever’s Lily falls head over heels for Bouttier’s Gede, and embittered fickle encounters between Clooney’s David and Roberts’ Georgia form a double-sided tale. Additional fuel is provided with Georgia’s latest fling in the much younger commercial pilot Paul, to the disgust of David. These veteran actors shoulder plentifully alongside the re-imagined Bali locale. Most effort is genuinely up to Clooney and Roberts as Parker and Pipski thread lightly with appearances by the broad-cast of Indonesian actors.
Mainly ‘’Ticket to Paradise’’ goes by the books, not providing much daring narrative, the location and culture being most unique. Seeing the successful former married couple travel to Bali is most of it, as their on-screen daughter and her boyfriend get attention but are understandably overshadowed.
Truly, it’s a rom-com for those immense fans, nothing you haven’t seen before, even with the otherwise not seen context. Parker provided an attractive base without further elaborating on an age-old recipe, although to provide a stage for the Indonesian actors making it feel authentic and vibrant was a fair attempt.
Not quite paradise.