“Ticket to Paradise” never takes flight 

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In a time where the concept of a movie star is thought to be withering away, “Ticket to Paradise” breaks the mold. 

With not one, but two A-list leads in George Clooney and Julia Roberts, the Bali-based film seeks to bring the mid-budget romantic comedy back to theaters. The genre has not fared well in the past decade, falling from its heights in the late 2000s/early 2010s, but with a strong cast, location and concept, “Ticket to Paradise” hopes to revive the dying genre. 

The answer to that question will not be revealed until box office results are finalized; for now all we can analyze is the film itself. 

Unfortunately, while “Ticket to Paradise” has strong moments, the film is ultimately a flawed one. 

Starting with the positives, Clooney and Roberts shine in this film. The pair have been in several films together over the years, most notably the esteemed heist film “Ocean’s Eleven.” As in that 2001 film, the pair have incredible on-screen chemistry. While sequences in “Ticket to Paradise” are somewhat comedically written, it is Roberts and Clooney that elevate the moments beyond what is on the page. Their bantering provides the best moments of the picture as the two actors play off one another in a seemingly improvisational manner. Their performances and on-screen charisma push this picture beyond its concept. 

Kaitlyn Dever and Maxime Bouttier are solid in their respective roles, though do not share Roberts and Clooney’s chemistry. This creates a problem, as the film is a rom-com surrounding  two relationships. Since the chemistry between actor-pairs does not match, scenes pertaining to the Dever-Bouttier dynamic fall flatter in comparison. That is not to say that Bouttier and Dever fail in their performances (it is a difficult task to match the rapport of two established, heavily-awarded and experienced actors) but some of their moments falter due to the inherent comparison to the better-executed Clooney-Roberts scenes. 

That being said, the main problem with “Ticket to Paradise” is its pacing. 

Pacing is an oft-repeated topic in movie reviews. It is why a 100 minute film can feel slow whilst a three hour movie can fly by. Pacing and rhythm comes down to writing, directing and editing working in perfect tandem to craft a cohesive, structured story. 

Generally speaking, rom-coms are fairly short films. Comedies in general tend to have tighter runtimes, due to their quick pace and focused concepts. A comedy wants to keep an audience laughing, which is easier to do over 90 minutes than it is in two hours. 

In this film’s case, it clocks out at 104 minutes with credits.  

It feels much, much longer. 

For a romantic comedy, “Ticket to Paradise” is surprisingly lacking in the comedy department. Especially in the third act, dramatic scenes dominate the picture. While this could have worked, the film did not provide its characters enough depth to execute on its melodramatic storylines. 

“Ticket to Paradise” worked best when the movie did not take itself too seriously. Clooney and Roberts know exactly what sort of movie they were making, and played up every scene with their energetic, lively performances. However, even they could not save the film’s dramatic moments, as they were forced to deliver more contained, naturalistic performances. This creates tonal inconsistency and those aforementioned problems with rhythm and pacing. 

Additionally, the film includes some jokes that are culturally based, which can be perceived as problematic. 

Ultimately, “Ticket to Paradise” never takes flight. The moments with Clooney and Roberts certainly turn the engines on, but with tonal inconsistency and a lack of rhythm, it is never cleared for take-off. 

For these reasons, the film does not earn my recommendation. 

Rating: 2.85/5 

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