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‘Ticket to Paradise’ putting fun back into cinema

Comedy seems to be a strange genre of cinema these days. In the past the comedy films that were released seemed very different to the films we have reaching screens today. Back then filmmakers were okay making outrageous comedies or comedies that had heart. These days it feels like most filmmakers try to make their comedies ‘different’ or ‘alternative’ and a lot of the time those films barely make the audience raise a smile yet alone a laugh… and as for heart, well forget it ‒ that seems to be a foreign concept.

By David Griffiths

Saturday 8 October 2022, 11:00AM

George Clooney and Julia Roberts in ‘Ticket to Paradise’ (2022). Image: IMDb

George Clooney and Julia Roberts in ‘Ticket to Paradise’ (2022). Image: IMDb

That is where the new film from director Ol Parker (Mamma Mia Here We Go Again) comes into the picture. Ticket to Paradise is almost a call back to those good old days of comedy. A film where you can’t but feel yourself caring about the characters at hand and having a good laugh along the way.

Filmed mostly in Australia, Ticket to Paradise sees divorced couple, David (George Clooney – Up in the Air) and Georgia (Julia Roberts – Pretty Woman), who are constantly telling people around them how much that hate each other having to work together when their daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever – Dear Evan Hansen), goes to Bali, falls in love and decides to get married straight away.

Upon arrival in Bali David and Georgia discover that Gede (Maxime Bouttier – Meet Me After Sunset) is actually a pretty nice guy and that Lily’s best friend Wren (Billie Lourd – Booksmart) is pointing out that Lily is the happiest she has ever been. Still the former couple are determined that they are going to put a stop to this marriage one way or another.

The plot itself sounds very simple, and that is the first thing that seems to work in favour of the film. Ol Parker had a point and a moral that he wanted to tell with the film and he didn’t go too far out of the way to get that across to his audience. There were no confusing metaphors or hidden meanings that will leave people scratching their head or having to search online for explanations after the film. No, this was just a good old-fashioned film that most people will find themselves thoroughly enjoying.

To his credit Parker delivers a fully rounded screenplay to the audience that seems to have all bases covered without falling into too many Hollywood cliches. While David and Georgia are pretty much the villains of the piece, Parker has written them in such a way that they are likable villains, even to the point where most audience members may realise that they become their favourite characters despite what they are doing on screen. A lot of writers would have perhaps written Georgia as an almost Wicked Witch type of character, but here Parker presents her to the audience as a character who feels scorned, can’t stand her ex but has enough redeemable features to make her completely likable, and more perhaps even more important relatable, to the audience.

It is the fact that most audience members will find themselves being able to understand all of the character’s motivations that will make them ultimately feel closer to the characters themselves… which in turn makes you actually care what happens to them in the end. It seems like a crazy concept these days, but it is nearly impossible to make a good film if the audience doesn’t feel like they can feel any emotion towards the characters at hand. Yes, there are times in this film that are completely predictable, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I picked the ending a mile off, but what is most important here is just how enjoyable the journey to get to that ending is.

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The comedy in this film works as well. There are the outrageous scenes, like the dolphin scene shown in the trailer, but for the most part the comedy comes from witty dialogue that kept raising chuckles throughout the film.

What also came to the fore for this film was the acting. Clooney and Roberts are on fire like the seasoned veterans they are throughout the film and the younger cast also rise to the occasion. Kaitlyn Dever once again shows why she is one of the most exciting young actresses in Hollywood at the moment while Maxime Bouttier does more than enough to suggest that he is a star on the rise.

Ultimately Ticket To Paradise is an enjoyable comedy with heart and likable characters. Queensland comes up a treat on screen and the beautiful surroundings lends itself nicely to the heartfelt story. This is a film that is a lot better than many will give it credit for.

Ticket To Paradise is currently screening in Phuket and is rated ‘13’.

3.5/5 Stars

David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at 

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