Friday 23 September 2022 07:29 AM Even George and Julia can't rescue this romcom: BRIAN VINER reviews Ticket To ... trends now
Ticket To Paradise (12A, 104 mins)
Verdict: Starry but feeble
Don't Worry Darling (15, 122 mins)
Verdict: More Styles than substance
There are more stars in this week's two major releases than I fancy will be bestowed on them by critics. Ticket To Paradise is a particular disappointment; an A-list cast — George Clooney and Julia Roberts — in a B-minus film.
It's a romcom that relies far too heavily on the undoubted charisma and chemistry of its leads to sprinkle stardust on a hackneyed premise whereby two people who loathe each other end up in love.
We have seen it a thousand times before in better pictures; indeed, it's the most whiskery of comedic devices, stretching right back to the likes of The Philadelphia Story (1940).
If the writing and plotting are sharp enough, as they have been through the decades in films such as The Goodbye Girl (1977), Groundhog Day (1993) and The Proposal (2009), it will always be a winning formula. But Ticket To Paradise, directed and co-written by Ol Parker (whose credits include 2018's Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), doesn't tick those boxes.
The set-up has a pair of bitterly divorced parents, David (Clooney) and Georgia (Roberts), finding rare common ground in an effort to stop their beloved only daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever), from marrying a Balinese seaweed farmer she has met on holiday. They are aghast at the thought of her making the same mistake they did.
Practically by definition, of course, romcoms don't need to be taken too seriously. That this film reunites two of the great twinkly stars of modern cinema might be enough for some, while others may well rejoice in the cosmic misfortune of David and Georgia being 'unexpectedly' seated next to each other at Lily's graduation, then on the long flight to Bali, where, guess what, they are again horrified to be given adjacent hotel rooms.
Ticket To Paradise is a particular disappointment; an A-list cast — George Clooney and Julia Roberts (pictured together)— in a B-minus film
For my money this is predictable fare, lazily plotted and scripted, and it gets even more predictable, as the visiting Americans are left wide-eyed by the quaint local customs
For my money this is predictable fare, lazily plotted and scripted, and it gets even more predictable, as the visiting Americans are left wide-eyed by the quaint local customs . . . although not by the far more astonishing fact that Lily's intended, dishy Gede (Maxime Bouttier), speaks English (after his lifetime of Balinese seaweed farming) more like a native of Indiana than Indonesia.
The Dam Busters (1955)
Apparently, there's a remake in the works and I can understand why, but nothing will ever eclipse the original, with Richard Todd, a bona fide war hero himself, playing the great Wing Commander Guy Gibson.
Saturday, C5, 6.40pm
Still, if anyone can give all this nonsense a much-needed lift it is Clooney and Roberts, who first teamed up on Ocean's Eleven (2001). This is their first romcom together, however, and they are somehow able to make its iffy dialogue sing, although not even Roberts can bring much dignity to fortune-cookie homilies about parenting, among them the solemn observation that 'a parent will do anything for their kid, except let them be exactly who they are'.
It's hardly a spoiler to let on that as David and Georgia realise how wrong it is of them to try to sabotage their daughter's wedding, so they gradually rediscover the attractions that brought them together in the first place (a process mildly and not very amusingly complicated by her younger boyfriend, a French pilot). In a way, a similar equation applies to the film: little by little, its deficiencies seem less significant than its amiability.
That said, the release date, originally set for a week ago today, was pushed back until after the Queen's funeral. I