What do you call a happily divorced couple who resolve to abort their own daughter’s wedding to an Indonesian weed farmer? A weed-ing crasher?
Okay, that’s a really feeble joke. And this sparkling romcom featuring two of the most enduring and charismatic superstars of Hollywood doesn’t need extraneous humour to pump up its intrinsic value.
Ticket To Paradise is an aspirational work of beauty and joy for…okay maybe not forever. But close. This is the visual version of comfort food. Whenever you feel this world is overladen with stressful ills, bills and pills, this is your go-to film.
Visually sumptuous, the film has no room for people who are not insanely good looking. I am sure the brief to director Ol Parker from the producers was to sign two of the most beautiful actors in the mama-papa age group. That Julia Roberts and George Clooney can also act (and how!) is a bonus. This film could have been made sixty years ago with Rock Hudson and Doris Day who were plain eye candy, nothing more nothing less.
That Clooney and Roberts have worked together before is as clear in their mutual affinity as the blue waters they head for, their express purpose being: sabotage their daughter’s wedding plans. Because, well, she doesn’t know what is good for her. Coming from a couple who separated five years after their marriage, and have been avoiding each other for fourteen years, this parental concern is priceless.
Clooney and Roberts give their best shot to this nimbly written rom-com. In Mama Mia Here We Go Again four years ago director Ol Parker had the azure oceans and the timeless songs of ABBA. Here he has only the water-soaked splendour of Bali. I am sure this film will do for Bali’s tourism what Mama Mia Here We Go Again did for Croatia.
Ticket To Paradise is a mesmerically inviting film. It sucks you into its smooth sexy superficial world of champagne and accompanying shindigs. Life for these beautiful people is an endless party. And they are not apologetic about their hedonism. George Clooney and Julia Roberts, veterans of screen hedonism, pull out all stops to deliver a partnered homage to the Good Life which most of us have left behind. Some are still lucky enough to yahoo in yachts and a purr in spas. Damn!
Besides its unabashed epicureanism, what I liked about the film was the torrent of insults that Clooney and Roberts exchange routinely, the piece de resistance being their in-flight skirmish. At their daughter’s graduation, Julia Roberts screams, “My daughter looks nothing like me.”
To which Clooney quips, “Thank God for that.”
The daughter is validly played by Kaitlyn Dever. But Wren Butler as her sexually generous roommate and best friend is even better.
Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.
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