Reunion of George Clooney and Julia Roberts on an island under a palm tree! What more could you ask for in the middle of the first November snow? The favorites of America (and the whole world) are filmed and filmed once a year – Roberts appeared in the series about the Watergate scandal “Gazlit”, and Clooney dismantled the mountains of criticism of “Midnight Sky”, where he acted as a director. Today it is almost impossible to remember that in 2016 colleagues played together in Jodie Foster’s directorial project “Money Monster” – but the live broadcast is already in the past, now the stars are trampling the sand.
David and Georgia (Clooney and Roberts) receive an e-mail from their daughter (Caitlin Deaver) that Lily met her fate Guede (Maxime Bouttier) during her college vacation and is now set to stay in Bali. She invites her parents to meet her new family. In addition to the suddenness of the decision made, the trip to the island is overshadowed by the fact that David and Georgia have been divorced for more than 10 years and can hardly put up with each other’s company. However, mutual reproaches do not prevent the former spouses from starting a “cunning” fraud and trying to upset their daughter’s upcoming wedding.
On the shore, Ticket to Paradise seemed like a fair deal: viewing guaranteed pseudo-romantic nonsense with favorite faces, resort landscapes and not the most witty jokes. In principle, everything turned out the way it did, but with unfortunate reservations: halfway through “Ticket to Paradise” is blown away, the joy from the harmony of Roberts and Clooney ends in the frame, and the action is trampling on the same beach, shifting from foot to foot.
Watching is different: there are absolutely monstrous rom-coms that somehow warm the soul with a concentration of clichés, cheap jokes and nuclear stereotypes, like the recent Irony of Fate in Hollywood. There are successful examples when stars and postmodern irony are thrown into the storm of the conservative genre, as happened in The Lost City. Films of both types are difficult to discuss seriously – we are talking about optional films for one evening, viewing which is worth choosing the right setting and company. But, despite all the initial data, “Ticket to Paradise” does not become a sweet pill of shameful pleasure.
Ol Parker has made a name for himself as holiday romances of all stripes: the director directed the sequel Mamma Mia! and “Merigold Hotel: The Best of the Exotic” (two films), but this time the sensitivity to the psychophysics of a person on vacation failed. When Georgia and David are not busy with all sorts of stupid things for the amusement of the public (playing beer pong, disco dancing, “battle” with dolphins and collecting seaweed at speed), the exes talk about their relationship, sitting somewhere under tropical leaves. But a series of heartfelt conversations does not give any clarity about the reasons for the separation and such a desperate desire to annoy each other. And, frankly, the chemistry between Roberts and Clooney remained somewhere in Ocean’s Friends: today nothing sparks between the artists except long-term friendship and mutual respect (which is already a lot).
Most of all, the already sluggish dynamics are ruined not by overdue humor or an unbearable line with Julia’s young boyfriend, but by the central conflict of the stone jungle and the life of the Balinese, who look almost savages to the guests of the island. Former spouses Cotton cannot understand why their clever daughter, a graduate, a gold medalist fell head over heels in love with an island farmer. And it seems that morality is precisely in reconciliation and respect for different cultures, but the frame is unbearably saturated with the spirit of the white savior and craving for Pina Colada.
“Ticket to Paradise” is a spectacle more painful than reassuring: it is gratifying that Julia Roberts and George Clooney had a great rest and earned several million with snow-white smiles. But I wish that romantic comedies with a touch of nostalgia did not cause endless Spanish shame.