"Ticket to Paradise" Doesn't Take Off (Review)
Ol Parker's "Ticket to Paradise" is absent what every cinephile craves in a film. That would be deep characters without explanations as to how they got that way and circumstances which come about naturally, causing these characters to react in a way that keeps an audience interested. Instead, "Ticket" is a series of plot points that feel put together for the sole purpose of advancing the movie to its predictable conclusion.
Mr. Parker (Ma Ma Mia, Here We Go Again), I sensed, wanted to make a romantic comedy full of charm, wit and end it, even though the characters endure some uncomfortable situations, happily. Unfortunately, the script is by the numbers, the direction is mechanic and the whole operation is uninspired. But, what Mr. Parker does have are two Wild Cards in the persons of Julia Roberts and George Clooney. These two light up the screen from the first moment and distract us from the rest of the movie's short comings.
The amount of charm wattage both Mr. Clooney and Ms. Roberts give off is the saving grace for watching this film. The movie opens with a clever montage of them explaining the origin of their relationship and how things got so bad. When they're forced to be near each, neither display the maturity necessary to keep their loathing to themselves. But the rapport both of these wily actors have with each other (they are self-proclaimed friends off screen) is soothing to watch even when they fight. We're quick to forgive Mr. Parker whenever he is unable to keep them both on screen only because it's not too often.
The conflict between the two characters is what ignites each plot point. The pettiness of their actions are in character which marks true star power since these transgressions do little to alter our liking of either character. And they are both good enough to show, as the characters, they're struggling coming to grips with their actions.
They are parents to a college graduate whom they see off for a trip to Bali for much needed rest and relaxation. In Bali, the daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever), falls in love and accepts a marriage proposal. Needless to say this will derail her career as a lawyer not to mention the path her parents think she should be on as she grows into an adult. The bright spot for the script and what gives it a spine despite the paper mâché the filmmakers wrap it in is a point about parents' expectations of their children. Parents see themselves in their children and place their own likes and desires upon them instead of treating their children as their own people. The best way for a child to thrive is to learn for themselves and to explore their own interests, is what the film boils down to. And that's admirable. Unfortuantely a run of the mill script barracaded this project from greatness but thankfully we're able to witness the greatness of two great stars working flawlessly at their craft.