Ticket to Paradise Review

This Year’s Mamma Mia

By Liselotte Vanophem

As a parent, you want the best for your kids. Some let their kids figure out what this is on their terms, while others might be a bit more protective (a.k.a. more controlling) but what if, for that latter group, it doesn’t go according to plan? What if their daughter/son decides to follow her/his path? There’s an undeniable tension between the parents and kids, and if you add a divorce to that, it becomes even worse. Not only due to the divorce but also because each ex wants to be the better parent.

Just ask David and Georgia, the ex-husband and wife from “Ticket to Paradise”, the latest film by co-writer/director Ol Parker (“Now Is Good”, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”). Their ambitions are to make each other lives as miserable as possible and to make sure that their daughter lives the life they want to make from this Parker’s film this year’s “Mamma Mia”. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is for you to decide.

This movie starts with the typical dual scene of a couple explaining how they’ve met. David (George Clooney) is an architect, and Georgia (Julia Roberts) is a famous person in the art world. Of course, they each have their version of how their first date went, their marriage, why they divorced, etc. It has now been 20 years since their divorce, so you would think that the ex-couple would be able to put their differences aside for once, especially for their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever).

She just graduated from law school and is about to go to Bali with her friend Wren (Billie Lourd) for a well-deserved holiday. A summer holiday that will have a more significant impact on the family than they had planned. Lily falls in love with fisherman/seaweed farmer Gede (Maxime Bouttier). It doesn’t take long before they are engaged and before David and Georgia fly halfway across the world to attend their daughter’s wedding.

Well, that’s what you would think. But instead, the parents are doing everything they can to prevent their daughter from making the biggest mistake of her life (according to them). Will their trojan horse plan work or not?

We’ve already compared “Ticket to Paradise” to “Mamma Mia”; no surprise. Director Parker sat in the director’s chair for “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!” too. So he decided to bring back those standard elements and recycle them for this movie. However, this approach again doesn’t work for a 100%.

What makes the movie shines is the stunning cinematography by Ole Bratt Birkeland (“American Animals”, “Ali & Ava”). One look at “Ticket to Paradise”, and you’re instantly drifting away to Bali, the glorious beach and the stunning landscapes. You are transported to a beautiful, deserted island where you might even find love and decide to stay there.

Another reason why this movie isn’t a complete write-off is the excellent acting. Clooney (“ Money Monster”, “ Tomorrowland A World Beyond”) and Roberts (“ Ben Is Back”, “ Wonder “) have been dominating the film world for many years. When you bring their talent, charisma and personality together, then you get a wonderful on-screen couple. They have great chemistry and do everything they can to keep the predictable jokes alive.

Dever (“Booksmart”, “ Beautiful Boy”) puts on a charming display as the clever and headstrong daughter and together with a strong Bouttier (“The Perfect Husband”, “Serendipity”), they portray the young lovebirds beautifully. However, the person who delivers the most memorable performance is Lourd (“Billionaire Boys Club”, “ Booksmart “). Her scenes are the most hilarious ones, and it’s a shame we don’t see more of her.

While Roberts and Clooney are great actors, they can only do so much with the script they’re giving and sadly, they don’t have to go on this time. The writing is quite predictable, and no scene sticks out for its humour, wittiness or surprise. You know that the traditional parents aren’t happy with their daughter’s relocating to an island (seen as primitive), marring a local boy (who, according to them, doesn’t hold a steady job) and who just gave up on the most prestigious position in the world (becoming a lawyer). If the jokes were original or there were some obstacles the couples had to overcome, we might have forgiven the writers duo for this uninspiring script, but not now.

What a shame that the predictability factor is so high in this movie! Clooney and Roberts are so joyful to watch, and the landscapes are stunningly gorgeous. However, the charm of this movie could have had it sucked out of “Ticket to Paradise” due to the half-written, uninspired and boring storyline and script.

“Ticket to Paradise” is out now in U.K. cinemas.

Originally published at https://www.ocmoviereviews.com.



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