Review: Rom-com lovers buy ‘Ticket to Paradise'

“Ticket to Paradise” reunites George Clooney and Julia Roberts as a bickering divorced couple who — because of their own acrimonious history — are united in their efforts to derail their daughter’s wedding in Bali, Indonesia, in the new romantic comedy.

"Ticket to Paradise" movie poster
"Ticket to Paradise" is a new romantic comedy reuniting Julia Roberts and George Clooney on the big screen as a divorced couple intent on sabotaging their daughter's wedding. The new release is playing at Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter.
Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch
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BAXTER — Combine George Clooney’s twinkling eyes and Julia Roberts’ megawatt smile and the result is a cinematic force of nature that may prove too irresistible to moviegoers.

The power couple and marquee names costar in the new romantic comedy “Ticket to Paradise” and reunite the pair after Jodie Foster’s “Money Monster,” a crime thriller that came out in 2016.

Clooney and Roberts play a divorced couple in “Ticket to Paradise” who cannot stand the sight of each other, much less tolerate each other for the sake of their daughter, played by an exasperated Kaitlyn Dever.

The recent law school graduate goes on a vacation to Bali, Indonesia, with her best friend, played by an unscrupulous Billie Lourd. While vacationing at the idyllic Instagram-worthy locale, Dever quickly falls head over heels for a local seaweed farmer played by Maxime Bouttier.

Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia
Contributed / Sebastian Pena Lambarri via

The post-graduate vacation turns into a whirlwind romance, much to the shock and disapproval of Clooney's and Roberts’ characters, who deride their daughter’s decision as childish while acting and fighting like children themselves.


With a destination wedding, of course, comes the expected clash of cultures between East and West, even though Australia was filmed as the stand-in for Indonesia. But it was still interesting to learn about Indonesian culture as portrayed in “Ticket to Paradise.”

Mucking up matters is the enamored younger boyfriend of Roberts’ played by Lucas Bravo, a French actor and model, who portrays an unrelenting pilot who follows Roberts to Bali to profess his undying love to her character, who may or may not be completely over Clooney’s character.

Moviegoers will most likely remember the pairing of Clooney and Roberts from the popular “Ocean’s Eleven” heist movie franchise and the easy chemistry the duo has clearly shows here.

How convincing the immensely likable movie stars play unlikable characters who hate each other in “Ticket to Paradise,” is debatable and arguably the film’s main challenge.

The motion picture is rated PG-13 and not billed as a dark comedy, and the nearly two-hour movie does not descend into the depths of depraved viciousness like “The War of the Roses,” a 1989 violent film costarring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as another fighting couple.

“Ticket to Paradise” is mostly a harmless affair, which has to overcome an expected Hollywood ending for the estranged pair of Clooney and Roberts, so the end is not a question but rather how enjoyable are the barbs along the way and if the “I Love Lucy”-like shenanigans work.

Frank Lee
Frank Lee

The new release comes near the end of the year when the temps drop and the leaves fall to the ground in the Midwest, foreshadowing a possibly brutal winter that hardy and longtime Minnesotans have grown accustomed to perhaps but may not embrace.

The sunny and sandy locale of “Ticket to Paradise” may prove to be the perfect fall antidote to impending winter doldrums. And after a viewing of the tourist attraction of Bali, as portrayed on the big screen, many will likely be online afterward looking for flights to the warm destination.


The feature film was directed by Ol Parker, who helmed the undeniably crowd-pleasing sequel “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” featuring once again the songs of the Swedish supergroup ABBA. He also directed “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and its sequel.

“Living” is a new drama starring English actor Bill Nighy a veteran civil servant who receives a terminal diagnosis from his doctor and decides to live it up with the help of a plucky young woman.

“Ticket to Paradise” currently holds a 56% approval rating among often hard-to-please critics and an 88% approval rating among more forgiving audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.

The consensus from the critics at “‘Ticket to Paradise’ may not send viewers all the way to the promised land, but this reunion for a pair of megawatt stars is still an agreeably frothy good time."

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write articles for the Wadena Pioneer Journal weekly newspaper owned by Forum Communications Co.
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