Ticket to Paradise, or maybe not

George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, and Maxime Bouttier in Ticket to Paradise

Ticket to Paradise is advertised with big photos of Julia Roberts and George Clooney looking happy. It makes you think, “Oh boy, that looks good.” It turns out to be flat and in need of some humor and character development.

Ticket to Paradise begins with recent college grad Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) and her roommate Wren (Billie Lourd) heading to Bali for an extended graduation trip. Lily calls herself a lawyer now, even though she hasn’t been to law school yet.

Kaitlyn Dever and Maxime Bouttier in Ticket to Paradise

Lily meets Gede (Maxime Bouttier) in the middle of the ocean. It’s love at first sight. A few weeks later she informs her divorced and feuding parents David (George Clooney) and Georgia (Julia Roberts) that she’s going to marry Gede and stay in Bali to work with him on his seaweed farm.

This won’t do.

David and Georgia head for Bali. Their only conversations are tossing barbs at each other, but they agree to stand together long enough to stop their daughter from doing something they consider foolish – something like what they did 25 years ago.

Georgia is followed to Bali by Paul (Lucas Bravo), an airline pilot she’s dating. He keeps asking her to marry him.

None of this story was overtly funny, none of the characters were very well drawn. Kaitlyn Dever as Lily had almost nothing interesting to do. I know George Clooney and Julia Roberts are big name movie stars in the old fashioned sense of the word. They have awards and accolades galore. But Kaitlyn Dever is as talented, maybe more talented, that anyone you can name. It was discouraging to see her so underused in this.

George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, and Maxime Bouttier in Ticket to Paradise
The movie was filmed in Queensland, not Bali, but looked like a topical paradise as intended.

Ticket to Paradise was co-written and directed by Ol Parker. He’s written and directed films in the past that I really liked. I wish this one had been as good. It isn’t a bad movie, just not the outstanding work you’d expect from a cast like this one. If you watched it and disagree with me, feel free to sound off in the comments.

I watched it on Peacock. You can rent it on Prime Video.

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