‘Ticket to Paradise’: A Love Letter to the Mid-Budget Rom-Com

The death of the rom-com is a trend that movie lovers have been talking about throughout the last decade. It seems that after the hits of the 1990s and early 2000s, rom-coms decreased in popularity. There are, of course, a few notable hits like “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “Set It Up, and “Love, Rosie” from the 2010s. However, the genre is not as popular or successful as it once was. Some attribute this to the fact that many studios are uninterested in a mid-budget movie. In the age of blockbusters, it is much easier to invest in a film that is guaranteed to be a box office success than investing in mid-budget movies that are low stakes. 

“Ticket to Paradise” is a breath of fresh air. It is a romantic comedy starring 90s heartthrobs Julia Roberts and George Clooney. Roberts and Clooney star as Georgia and David Cotton, a divorced couple forced to reunite to stop their daughter’s wedding. Their daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever), is marrying Gede (Maxime Bouttier), a man she had been dating for two months after visiting Indonesia on a trip. Roberts and Clooney play bitter exes who only agree that their daughter is throwing away the life she worked so hard to earn. In the process of trying to stop the wedding, the two reconnect, reminiscing on what went wrong in the relationship and how happy they used to make one another. 

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

I think what really makes this film unique is the fact that it is focused on an older couple. Roberts and Clooney are well-versed in playing romantic leads and their experience really shines through the film. The two have incredible chemistry and are able to balance having the youthful spirit of falling in love again while managing to portray the realities of what shared history does to two people. The audience can easily find the story grounded in reality as both Georgia (Roberts) and David (Clooney) begin blaming the other for the failure of their marriage while acknowledging what they did wrong. As an audience, we see the messiness and complexity of love that is so often ignored in romance films. Romance is hard and not the picture-perfect thing that we see in the movies. The whirlwind whimsical romance is a central part of the rom-com formula. While highly unrealistic, Gede and Lily’s story brings those traditional aspects to the film as well. You’re able to root for the young love that clearly deserves its chance to shine while being rewarded with the slow burn rekindling that Georgia and David go through. 

The cast had fun making the movie and even brought back the age-old tradition of having a blooper reel in their end credits. While the movie is not the most spectacular film I’ve ever seen, it was made with a clear love for entertaining audiences rather than making a profit, something rare to see nowadays. 

“Ticket to Paradise” is now playing in theaters.

By Andrea Salamanca

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