Review: Roberts, Clooney team in middling romantic-comedy ‘Ticket to Paradise’

George Clooney and Julia Roberts in Ticket to Paradise (Universal Pictures)

“Ticket to Paradise” is a pleasant romantic-comedy starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. It’s the equivalent of comfort food, and there is nothing wrong with that. But there’s nothing particularly special about it either.

If you’re a fan of Roberts and Clooney — and on some level who isn’t — you might be charmed by this movie. By and large, I was. I had a good time watching the two clown together in a tropical paradise.

However, the film is far from a must-see event. Again it’s pleasant enough to while away the better part of two hours, but the movie co-written and directed by Ol Parker (“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”) with his writing partner Daniel Pipski, is the type of entertainment you’d easily fall asleep to on a lazy Sunday afternoon if you were catching it on TV.

You’d probably wake up at some point, but it would hardly matter that you dozed off, because nothing really happens that you’d worry about missing.

The entire film dotes on the charm and charisma of the two stars. Roberts and Clooney are fun together like a latter day Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Well, maybe not that over-the-top or exaggerated or funny, but in the general vicinity.

They play a long-time divorced couple, Georgia and David, who believe their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) is rushing into marriage with Gede (Maxime Bouttier), a sea-weed farmer she fell in love with on a post law-school graduation trip to Bali.

They come to Bali for the wedding with the intent of bringing Lily to her senses and calling off the wedding so she can return to the States and begin her law career.

Escapades and hijinks ensue and before long Georgia and David, who at the beginning of the film can hardly stand to look at each, are somehow back in love.

All of that’s not really a spoiler. It’s all there in the commercials and trailers. Again, the movie is pleasant and mildly amusing.

Chances are if you are inclined to buy a ticket for this film, you’ll find it O.K., but be warned the plot is about as basic as most of the movies you find on the Hallmark Channel or other stations of that ilk. Only the star power of Clooney and Roberts lifts the production above that level.

They aren’t loafing in this movie, but it seems they may have taken these parts just so their families could vacation together on Bali while they were shooting it. Great work, if you can get it.

Dever is adequate in her role as is Bouttier. Billie Lourd gets a laugh or two as Wren, Kaitlyn’s boozy friend, and Lucas Bravo is there as Paul, Georgia’s younger boyfriend, who happens to be a pilot.

(PG-13) 1 hr. 44 min.
Grade: C

New in Local Theaters – Oct. 28, 2022

Till (PG-13) 2 hr. 11 min. (trailer)
(AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Towne, Skylight)

Call Jane (R) 2 hr. 4 min. (trailer)
(AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle)

Prey for the Devil (PG-13) 1 hr. 33 min. (trailer)
(AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle, Malco Towne)

Tar (R) 2 hr. 38 min. (trailer)
(Malco Razorback, Malco Towne)

Universal Monsters on the Big Screen

Julie Adams and Ben Chapman in Creature from the Black Lagoon (Universal Pictures)

Hollywood put scores of rubber-suited monsters on the silver screen in the 1950s and early 1960s, but none were more iconic, scary, and cool than The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Two actors portrayed the Gillman in the 1954 film.

Ben Chapman, a 6-foot-5 stuntman, gave the monster a statuesque presence on land, while Ricou Browning, 92, who later went on to direct, produce, and write films, was the stuntman who portrayed the creature in the stunning underwater sequences.

Browning is revered for his underwater cinematography skills and is the only living actor who played one of the the classic Universal Monsters still with us.

Browning was instrumental in writing and directing many episodes of the “Flipper” TV series and other movies of the 1960s. His work is notable in the underwater sequences of the James Bond film “Thunderball.” His last screen credit was coordinating marine stunts for the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” in 2010.

There are many fine underwater sequences in the film, but perhaps the best features Browning swimming underneath the film’s female lead Julie Adams, who grew up in Blytheville.

The film is dated and definitely not scary by today’s standards, but it is still a lot of fun if only for the great design of the costume and the underwater stunts by Browning.

“The Creature from the Black Lagoon” is playing at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Malco Razorback and the Malco Pinnacle as a double feature with the 1943 version of “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Classic Corner – Halloween Film Fun For Everyone

The Halloween Tree (Hanna-Barbera Productions)

If you want to get into the Halloween mood with the kids this weekend, here are some fun suggestions the whole family might enjoy.

The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree is a Daytime Emmy Award-winning animated adaption of Ray Bradbury’s 1972 novel that tells the story of four young friends supernaturally whisked away on a Halloween journey through space and time in search of the soul of their friend Pip, who is deathly ill. On that journey, the four friends discover the origins of Halloween by visiting various cultures around the world. The movie was produced by Hanna-Barbara and is wonderfully narrated by the author. It’s spooky fun.

Mad Monster Party

Rankin/Bass, the company that produced the Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frost the Snowman and many other children’s specials, created this 1967 stop-motion animated film that features the voice talents of Boris Karloff, Phyllis Diller, and Allen Swift. Baron Boris von Frankenstein (Karloff) calls a meeting of the World Organization of Monsters on the Isle of Evil and his nephew Felix Flanken, a Jimmy Stewart-type, voiced by Swift, is invited, too. From there monstrous hilarity ensues. Mad Magazine creators Jack Davis and Harvey Kurtzman designed the characters and wrote the script respectively.

As a side note, Jules Bass, who teamed with Arthur Rankin, to produce this and dozens other holiday specials and cartoons such as the “Thundercats” and “The Jackson 5” from the 1960s into the 1980s, passed away earlier this week at the age of 92. His partner Arthur Rankin died at 89 in 2014.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

When the steam ran out of Universal Studios’ series of monster films in the mid-1940s, director Charles Barton developed the idea of having Frankenstein’s Monster (Glenn Strange), Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.) menace the studio’s top comedy duo, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. As odd as the idea may have been, it made for comedy gold. Both The American Film Institute and Reader’s Digest rank the 1948 film among their 100 best comedies, and in 2001 the U.S. Library of Congress registered it as culturally historical and aesthetically significant. It’s a fun movie and a fine way to introduce the Universal monsters to kids.

The Monster Squad

“The Monster Squad” is basically what if the Goonies met the Universal Monsters in 1987. The movie may be a bit scary and naughty for younger kids, but it should be right in the wheelhouse of most tweens. It’s a familiar plot with the Dracula-led monsters out to take over the world with only a group of precocious kids standing in the way.