Ticket to Paradise is a strictly paint by numbers romantic comedy that pulls no surprises and dutifully plows along predictably. Nothing about it is remotely believable which extends to even the location where much of the film was shot. The story is supposed to take place in Bali but instead it was shoot on various coastal areas in Australia!! To be honest, one look at the location and I was not at all fooled to even believe the place was anywhere near Bali. The locals all looked like Hollywood extras recruited to dress and speak in a foreign language sounding gibberish to add on to the feeble attempt of deceiving the audience to think the “paradise” they see is actually Bali. In this part of the world all this just looks plastic and unauthentic.
In spite of these shortcomings, Ticket to Paradise still managed to provide an hour and a half of lighthearted unoffensive entertainment. This I attribute almost entirely to the star power of its two main stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney! It has been probably much too long since we last saw them in anything new and Ticket to Paradise provided the timely relief for their fans who had simply just missed them. Director Ol Parker who gave us the charming Mamma Mia sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, is no stranger to the romantic comedy genre, and he cleverly puts Julia and George centerstage for the most part of the movie. Their chemistry on screen, and playful digs at each other is what the audience came for and they got plenty of it. Watching the whole repertoire is akin to us visiting old friends and reliving the good old times.
With Julia and George dominating much of the screen, the supporting characters had little chance to shine and be anything beyond wallpaper. Still, it was nice to see some familiar faces from the TV world like Lucas Bravo (Emily’s main squeeze in Emily in Paris) and Billie Lourd (an American Horror Story’s regular) providing some quiet distractions with the little they were given to do.
Ticket to Paradise is terrible but in a good way. It has no right to be entertaining but it is! It will not win any Academy Awards but its two main stars each have won the Academy Awards multiple times. It is a contradiction of terms that is most welcome in the current sea of superhero or formulaic movies.