Even the oldsters need love, 3.5 readers.
BQB here with a review of the wacky rom com, Ticket to Paradise.
I gotta be honest. I have avoided this one for the following reasons:
#1 – I dislike most rom coms. Not because of the romance or the comedy or the blending of the two. It’s just while I love all kinds of crazy action sci-fi films with monsters and aliens and spaceships and heroes surviving massive explosions, I find these more believable than two people finding long lasting love despite all the odds, which tells you a lot about my jaded love life, or the lack thereof.
#2 – George Clooney is in his 60s. Julia Roberts is in her mid 50s. Both were in movies when I was a little kid yet they are trying to pull off roles as early to mid 40 somethings who met in college in the late 90s, got married quick, had a kid, then got divorced and spent the last 20 years despising one another. As someone who is in the age range they are playing, someone who did go to college in the late 90s, I kinda resent these oldsters playing early 40 somethings.
Seriously, when they put out the commercial where the kids are dancing and George and Julia are wallflowers till they ask the DJ to play something more their speed so he plays House of Pain’s Jump Around – “Bullshit!” I cried. Bullshit, I say. Pardon my French, but Bullshit. I remember the time when House of Pain was popular, G and J. George, you were killing vampires in From Duck till Dawn and Julia, you were the prostitute with a heart of gold in Pretty woman and I was still in freaking braces so stop it. You two are so far from being young enough to have danced to Jump Around at a college party, you AARP carrying geriatric schmucks.
OK but once we get past that, yeah, it’s actually a charming enough movie.
As mentioned above, Georgia (Julia) and David (George) Cotton were college sweethearts who got married right after graduation. Theirs was a fun, whirlwind romance at first but at last, as they got buried by work, bills and responsibilities, they grew to despise and resent one another, each believing the other had cost them opportunities, a great life, a great career, oh the greatness I could have had if I hadn’t met you, never realizing that perhaps their love was the greatness they were seeking all along.
For the past 25 years, they have only stayed in contact for the sake of their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever). As an early scene where they attend Lilly’s law school graduation shows, whenever they are in the same room, they cannot help but heap large portions of insults upon one each other, many of which, to the film’s credit, are funny. The mental gymnastics they go through to blame each other for any little thing that goes wrong is a laugh riot, and sadly, not unlike many a dysfunctional relationship we have all likely seen at some point in our lives.
In true rom com fashion, Kaitlyn visits the tropical paradise of Bali as a post law school romp before she snags a big job at a law firm, yet those plans are derailed when she meets hunky Balinese seaweed farmer Gede (Maxime Bouttier), falls instantly in love, and the two decide to get married a mere two months later.
Naturally, Georgia and David are irate at this notion and so when they fly out to attend the wedding, they pledge to put their differences aside in the name of a truce designed to shut down the wedding at all costs and put Lilly back on the path to being a corporate lawyer.
Comedy hijinx ensue as the duo concoct elaborate schemes to tear their daughter’s romance asunder, all which blow up spectacularly in their faces. As is obvious even in the trailer, in the course of working together to deny their offspring love, the old flames of their long lost love are rekindled. Now that they are oldsters who have been knocked around by life quite a bit, do they realize that all the imperfections the refused to accept in each other when they were young are now acceptable because if its one thing old people understand, it is that you’ll wait forever if you wait for life to be perfect?
Naturally, there are a lot of plot holes to ignore. Lilly did all that work in law school only to throw it away, though it is indicated she only did it to make her parents happy and she now truly believes that being a Balinese seaweed farmer’s wife is her true calling. Even so, the hundreds of thousands of dollars of law school debt could only be absorbed by a kid with rich parents, which she is, but this is never mentioned outright. A sad reality of life is that higher education is a dangerous gamble, one which kids often belly up to the table at a time when they understand very little. They take out massive loans under the assumption the degree will lead to big buckaroos, only to suffer when they don’t find that high paying job, or they do but realize it isn’t for them and have to do it forever to pay those loans off or seek out something they do like but remain forever crushed by debt. Only when you have rich parents can you throw it all away and become a seaweed farmer.
STATUS: Fun. Funny. Not something you’d watch again and again but worth the time of one viewing. George and Julia are two of the last big movie stars so it’s nice to see them yukking it up on screen. In an era where talent is getting increasingly cheap, we may never see their likes again. Both are beautiful rich people playing beautiful rich people doing undignified things for laughs, so that’s surreal.
#1 – the film focuses on the theme that the best marriages require the perfect time, the perfect place and the perfect circumstances. Maybe you meet someone and you could have been great if you hadn’t been focused on building a career or a recent disappointment in life. Maybe you meet them but alas, you have to go home to LA and she to New York. Maybe you two could be happy if you lived together on a mountain goat farm but unfortunately you live busy urban lifestyles. So focus on building those things that make you happy and love will solve itself, noble reader.
#2 – The ever present conundrum of a kid deciding what will please their parents vs what will please them. I think often young people don’t understand that their parents harp on them to do practical things because they are old and have been knocked around by life. They know big bills and debt are coming your way and know in the long run, you’ll be happier if you can pay them than if you are living on the street giving hobo hand jobs for crack because you tried and failed to chase a silly dream.
The only caveat I’d add is that in today’s economy, trying to secure any job that pays a life sustaining salary requires the applicant to engage in a Mortal Kombat style battle royale for victory against any and all opponents. Ergo, when it’s a freaking uphill climb to get a job in the seemingly practical world of, say, auto insurance claims adjusting, then you might as well just make that uphill climb toward being an actor or an artist or some other thing that parents are mentally trained to tell you to avoid because you’ll totally make big bucks in the law or dentistry or HVAC repair. Mom and Dad don’t realize we’re in a Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome job market now, and it is a struggle to get almost any job.