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At The Movies: Rom-com ‘Paradise’ not lost

“Ticket to Paradise” is the hot ticket to a rom-com.

The rom-com is movie jargon for romantic-comedy, whereby, typically: guy chases girl, the guy gets the girl, guy loses girl, and he gets her back again.

That male-centric plot has gone by the by for various reasons, many worthy of a film studies PhD thesis.

According to an Oct. 23 article published in the Los Angeles Times, “64 percent of the opening-weekend audience was older than 35” for “Ticket to Paradise,” which stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney.

“Ticket to Paradise” is “the biggest rom-com to feature two over-50 leads since 2009’s ‘It’s Complicated’ [whose stars included Meryl Streep and Steve Martin],” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Julia Roberts is 54. George Clooney is 61.

As mentioned previously in this column, the rom-com is “The Land of the Jennifers,” as in Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner and Jennifer Lopez.

Add to the list another J: Julia Roberts.

Aniston (TV’s “Friends,” 1994-2004) is noted for the rom-coms, including “She’s Funny That Way” (2014), the last narrative feature directed by Peter Bogdanovich (1939 - 2022); “The Break-Up” (2006), opposite Vince Vaughn, and “Along Came Polly” (2004), opposite Ben Stiller.

Garner (TV’s “Alias,” 2001-2006) has numerous rom-coms to her credit, including “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” (2009), “13 Going on 30” (2004) and “Catch Me If You Can” (2002).

Lopez has starred in the rom-coms “Marry Me” (2022), “Second Act” (2018), “The Back-Up Plan“ (2010), “Monster-in-Law” (2005), ”Maid in Manhattan” (2002) and “The Wedding Planner” (2001).

Other noteworthy rom-com-ers include: Meg Ryan, “You’ve Got Mail,” (1998), “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), “When Harry Met Sally” (1989); Kristen Wiig, “Bridesmaids” (2011); Emma Stone, “Easy A” (2010); Amanda Seyfried, “Mama Mia!” (2008); Sandra Bullock, “The Proposal” (2009); Katherine Heigl, “The Ugly Truth,” 2009; Drew Barrymore, “50 First Dates” (2004), and Kate Hudson, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (2003).

And there are the classic romantic comedies of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Julia Roberts is noted for the rom-coms “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997), “Runaway Bride” (1999) and “Pretty Woman” (1990).

In “Ticket to Paradise,” Georgia Cotton (Julia Roberts) and David Cotton (George Clooney) are divorced.

The two reluctantly, very reluctantly, agree to collaborate and travel to Bali, Indonesia, in an attempt to prevent the marriage of their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever), a recent law school graduate, to a seaweed farmer, Gede (Maxime Bouttier), who she met while on vacation in Bali with her college roommate, Wren (Billie Lourd).

To complicate matters, Georgia’s boyfriend, Paul (Lucas Bravo), a pilot, lands in Bali and proposes to Georgia.

“Ticket to Paradise” has a bright, breezy look as befits its locale. The setting is so beautiful and enticing, you may find yourself musing “I want to travel there” as you watch the movie. You may even find yourself contacting a travel agent after you leave the movie theater.

Julia Roberts and George Clooney are as easy on the eyes as the island vistas. They work well together as a team. Their love-hate, or perhaps better said, hate-love relationship of the characters they portray, is believable. Roberts and Clooney have, as it’s said, chemistry.

“Ticket to Paradise” is a reteaming of Roberts and Clooney, who were in “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001), “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (2002), “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004) and “Money Monster” (2016).

In “Ticket to Paradise,” Roberts and Clooney have a casual charm that many will find irresistible. They are akin to the Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant (“Bringing Up Baby,” 1938; “The Philadelphia Story,” 1940) of the contemperary cinema era. Roberts and Clooney may be the last of the cinema’s big-screen charmers.

Clooney (Oscar recipient, best picture, “Argo,” 2012; Oscar recipient, supporting actor, “Syriana,” 2005), now with gray-streaked beard and hair, is always interesting to watch on screen. His affability knows no bounds. He seems fearless in his self-deprecating willingness to engage in dialogue and physical comedy to poke fun at his movie persona, as he does in “Ticket to Paradise.”

Roberts (Oscar recipient, actress, “Erin Brockovich,” 2000) has a measured screen presence that she guards gently and effectively. As with Clooney, she commands every scene she’s in. Roberts’ charm seems boundless. Her good-naturedness hides, just barely, a sharp-edged strength of character underneath.

Clooney nor Roberts suffer fools lightly in “Ticket to Paradise,” least of all each other. The characters they play clearly consider each other to be fools. Thus derives much of the wicked-wit comedy between Clooney and Roberts in “Ticket to Paradise.”

Memorable in supporting roles are Kaitlyn Dever (TV’s “Dopesick,” 2021), as daughter Lily; Maxime Bouttier (“Serendiipity,” 2018) as boyfriend Gede, and Billie Lourd (TV’s “American Horror Story,” 2017-2022) as Wren, Lily’s college roommate.

“Ticket to Paradise” director Oliver Parker (director, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (2018); director-screenwriter, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011) has a casual way behind the camera. He gets in and out of scenes efficiently, letting the laughs develop quickly without lingering and is quickly on to the next visual or verbal quip.

Parker co-wrote the “Ticket to Paradise” screenplay with Daniel Pipski (his theatrical screenplay debut). The screenplay has an antecedent in “Father of the Bride” (1950), starring Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett and Elizabeth Taylor; a 1991 remake starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton, and a 2022 remake starring Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan. Call “Ticket to Paradise” the “Father and Mother of the Bride.”

If rom-coms are your thing and if you’re a fan of Julia Roberts and George Clooney, we can report confidently that “Ticket to Paradise” could be just the ticket for you.

“Ticket to Paradise,”

MPAA rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned: Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.) for some strong language and brief suggestive material; Genre: Romance, Comedy; Run time: 1 hour, 44 minutes. Distributed by Universal Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous:

Stay for the “Ticket to Paradise” closing credits to see out-takes and bloopers from the movie. “Ticket to Paradise” was filmed in Queensland, Australia; Bali, Indonesia, and California.

At The Movies:

“Ticket to Paradise” was seen in the Movie Tavern at Trexlertown, with food ordered in advance on the phone and delivered right to the reclining seats.

Theatrical Movie Box Office,

Nov. 11-13: The sequel, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” opened at No. 1 with $180 million, in 4,396 theaters.

It’s the second-highest weekend box office opening for 2022, behind “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” another Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, which grossed $187 million in its May 6, 2022, opening weekend.

It’s the biggest-ever November weekend box office opening, surpassing “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which opened Nov. 20, 2013, with $158 million.

It’s less than the weekend box office of the original “Black Panther,” which opened Feb. 16, 2018, with $202 million.

2. “Black Adam” dropped from its three-week run at No. 1, with $8.6 million, in 3,603 theaters, $151.1 million, four weeks. 3. “Ticket to Paradise” stayed in place, $6.1 million, in 3,640 theaters, $56.5 million, four weeks. 4. “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile” moved up two places, $3.2 million, in 2,486 theaters, $40.8 million, six weeks. 5. “Smile” moved down one place, $2.3 million, in 2,271 theaters, $102.7 million, seven weeks. 6. “Prey for the Devil” dropped one place, $2 million, in 2,164 theaters, $16.9 million, three weeks. 7. “The Banshees of Inisherin” stayed in place, $1.7 million, 960 theaters, $5.7 million, four weeks. 8. “One Piece Film: Red” dropped six places, $1.4 million, in 2,213 theaters, $12.7 million, two weeks. 9. ”Till” dropped one place, $618, 254 in 1,358 theaters, $8 million, five weeks. 10. “Armageddon Time” moved up two places, $352,000, in 981 theaters, $1.5 million, three weeks.

Movie box office information from Box Office Mojo as of Nov. 13 is subject to change.


Nov. 18:

“Poker Face,”

No MPAA rating: Russell Crowe directs Liam Hemsworth, Lynn Gilmartin, RZA and himself in the Action Crime Thriller. A tech billionaire hosts a high-stakes poker game.

“The Menu,”

MPAA rated R: Mark Mylod directs Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes and Nicholas Hoult in the Comedy Horror Thriller. A young couple dines at an exclusive island resort restaurant.

“She Said,”

MPAA rated R: Mark Schrader directs Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher in the Drama. It’s based on the New York Times investigation and book by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor about their reporting about allegations concerning movie producer Harvey Weinsten that helped begin the “MeToo movement.

Movies opening dates information from Independent Movie Database as of Nov. 13 is subject to change.

Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

CONTRIBUTED IMAGE: UNIVERSAL PICTURES Julia Roberts (Georgia Cotton), George Clooney (David Cotton), “Ticket to Paradise.”