Ticket To Paradise review: Clooney and Roberts bring back the 90s

Julia Roberts and George Clooney bring the star power to this escapist rom-com (Picture: Stills Photography by Vince Vali)

George Clooney and Julia Roberts in a romcom set in sun-kissed Bali. Need I say more, or are you already booking your tickets?

Once college sweethearts, buff architect David (Clooney in a pristine hard hat clutching blueprints) and equally gorgeous gallery owner Georgia (Roberts in power shorts) were married for about five minutes before they acrimoniously divorced.

That was over two decades ago, but the bickering couple still can’t stand each other, much to the exasperation of their only daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever).

However, when Lily takes a vay-cay to Bali and decides to ditch her promising legal career at ‘the top law firm in Chicago’ (it’s that level of script) in favour of marrying a dishy Balinese seaweed farmer (Maxime Bouttier), her parents reluctantly join forces to stop her.

Yes, 25 years on from The Runaway Bride and My Best Friend’s Wedding, Julia Roberts is back trying to bust up more nuptials.

And gosh, she does it ever so well. That pitch-perfect comedy timing. That billion-dollar smile.

The bickering couple are reunited for their daughter’s (Kaitlyn Dever) wedding (Picture: Stills Photography by Vince Valitutti)
It’s a bit like Mamma Mia but without the ABBA (Picture: Stills Photography by Vince Valitutti)

Were it not for the faint, reassuring presence of what cosmetics firms call ‘the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles’ (no frozen faces here), you could almost believe were actually back in the 1990s, not least because Ticket To Paradise is produced by romcom titans Working Title (Notting Hill, Bridget Jones).

It’s a movie that totally relies on its star power. As you would. Because whilst on paper, every beat of this formulaic fluff is preposterously predictable. On-screen, it slips down smoother than a cappuccino hand-frothed by Mr. Clooney.

It’s like he and Roberts have teamed up to remind us what actual A-list big screen stars were like and the magic they can shimmer up.

Kind of like Mamma Mia! without the ABBA, it’s another cross-generational, exotic-locale romance from British director Ol Parker (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again).

If that all sounds rather superficial, then the over-talented younger cast is similarly under-served.

As Lily’s BFF, Billie Lourd’s one defining characteristic is rampant alcoholism (err – ha ha?), whilst the Balinese characters are essentially colourfully attired extras who seemingly live on seaweed and smiles.

A romcom where the biggest laughs come when Clooney’s penis gets bitten by a dolphin is unlikely to bother the Oscars.

But as undemanding escapism goes, this is just the ticket.

Out now in cinemas

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