In the standard recipe book of the romcom genre, certain rules and flavor combinations apply.
Variations on the theme are welcome — when they work — but we’ve come to expect certain
elements, including the delicate balance of tension and tenderness. In British writer-director Ol
Parker’s Ticket to Paradise, a fine new addition to the romcom club, those two T-factors are
represented in a story about two marital contracts — one long since dissolved and one about to
Did I mention that the film has as its strong selling points the sassy chemistry of Clooney and Roberts (George and Julia) and the stunning allure of Bali as a location? (Spoiler alert: the film was actually shot in Australia, just as Apocalypse Now was shot in the Philippines versus Vietnam).
George and Julia, trading cynical barbs while holding the promise of a reunion we suspect from the outset, head to Bali on a self-appointed rescue mission. Their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever), while on a holiday between college and a law career, has been swept off her feet by a handsome young seaweed farmer from Bali. They are to be wedded, if her conniving parents don’t sabotage the union. Enough farcical hijinks and romantic turnarounds ensue, with modest lessons of intercultural sensitivity, to keep us attuned and entertained.
In the end, Ticket to Paradise is a medium-hot ticket to escapist fun at the movies, a sweet and sour balm in a period when we’re still licking our pandemic wounds. It also makes a reasonable proposition that Clooney and Roberts need to go on meeting like this, in the shadow of the Tracy and Hepburn mode. Lastly, the scenery beckons us to visit Bali for ourselves. Or whatever idyllic corner of Australia this takes place in.
Ticket to Paradise is currently screening at Paseo Nuevo Cinema and the Fairview Twin). Visit
metrotheatres.com/santa-barbara/showtimes/ for showtimes.