Ticket to Paradise review – a retro rom-com at its best and worst

Rom-coms have seen a resurgence in recent years, largely thanks to Netflix, and now they’re coming back to dominate the big screen. We have Bros and What does Love have to do with it? in the coming months, but first it’s out of the gate Ticket to Heaven.

The new movie from Mamma mia! Here we go again Director Ol Parker reunites George Clooney and Julia Roberts on screen for first time since 2016 Money Monster. They play warring exes David and Georgia, who put aside their differences to stop their daughter Lily (Caitlin Dever) from marrying someone she just met in Bali.

It’s a classic setup that could have been a rom-com in the ’90s, when Roberts starred in the likes of Notting Hill and Clooney in it A nice day. The problem for Ticket to Heaven it’s that the film itself also feels like it could be straight out of the 90s – for better, but mostly for worse.

In a recent interview, Roberts said The New York Times that “we didn’t appreciate the preemption of the romantic comedies we had back then.” Well, if this movie does anything, it might as well make you finally appreciate just how good we’ve had it.

George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Ticket to Heaven


There is nothing particularly wrong with it Ticket to Heaven, but it quickly becomes apparent that there’s nothing particularly exciting about it. It’s the type of rom-com where you know exactly how it’s going to end once the first act set-up is out of the way.

Predictability doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but you need other elements of the film to compensate for it. The problem with Ticket to Heaven is that for a rom-com, there aren’t really any jokes. And what is there is, more often than not, incredibly dated.

So you get several moments where David and Georgia have no idea what the Indonesian parents of Lily’s fiance Gede (Maxime Bouttier) are saying. Merry! You also have not one, but two, unfortunate incidents with animals. Wild!

There are flashes of inspiration, like Geneviève Lemon’s Beth-Ann wanting to meet people when she flies so they can save her if the plane crashes. But too often, as with the plot (you better believe the secrets come out just before the third act for some drama), you’ll see the line before the joke is delivered.

ticket to heaven


The one aspect of return Ticket to Heaven What definitely works, however, is the lead pairing of George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Their charisma and chemistry raise the level of the script, even if it doesn’t really give them much more than to fight.

Billie Lourd as Lily’s best friend Ren and Lucas Bravo as Georgia’s naïve friend Paul give entertaining supporting turns, even if Lourd struggles with another old trope of the drunken carefree BFF. The movie also seems to think we can’t have both at the same time, so Lily is in the first half before she basically disappears for Paul to take over.

It’s also pleasing to see that despite the questionable gags of ‘foreigner abroad’, the film showcases Indonesian culture with filmmakers working with cultural consultants to ensure its authenticity. The story’s destination may be inevitable, but at least there’s a freshness to the scenes as a result.

For many, Ticket to Heaven Being exactly the kind of movie you would expect will be enough to enjoy it. It’s friendly enough, but with the talent in the cast, it’s a shame it never takes off.

Ticket to Heaven is released in UK cinemas on 20 September and in US cinemas on 21 October.

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