Comedy seems to be a strange genre of cinema these days. In the past I was always drawn to comedy – in fact some of my favourite films are comedies – but going back beyond a decade ago it feels like the comedy genre was very different. Back then filmmakers were okay making outrageous comedies or comedies that had heart. These days I feel like most filmmakers try to make their comedies ‘different’ or ‘alternative’ and a lot of the time those films barely make me raise a smile yet along a laugh… and as for heart well forget it that seems to be a foreign concept.

Now that is where the new film from director Ol Parker (Mamma Mia Here We Go Again) comes into the picture. Ticket To Paradise is almost a call back to those good old days of comedy. A film where I found myself caring about the characters at hand and having a good laugh along the way.

Filmed mostly in Australia Ticket To Paradise sees divorced couple, David (George Clooney – Up In The Air) and Georgia (Julia Roberts – Pretty Woman), who are constantly telling people around them how much that hate each other having to work together when their daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever – Dear Evan Hansen), goes to Bali, falls in love and decides to get married straight away.

Upon arrival in Bali David and Georgia discover that Gede (Maxime Bouttier – Meet Me After Sunset) is actually a pretty nice guy and that Lily’s best friend Wren (Billie Lourd – Booksmart) is pointing out that Lily is the happiest she has ever been. Still the former couple are determined that they are going to put a stop to this marriage one way or another.

The plot itself sounds really simple and I think that is one of the things that I most enjoyed about the film – Ol Parker had a point and a moral that he wanted to tell with the film and he didn’t go too far out of the way to get that across to his audience. There were no confusing metaphors or hidden meanings that left me scratching my head or having to explain to people after the film. No this was just a good old fashioned film that I found myself thoroughly enjoying.

To his credit Parker I found that Parker delivers a fully rounded screenplay to the audience. While David and Georgia are pretty much the villains of the piece Parker has written them in such a way that they are likable villains, even to the point where David was my favourite character in the whole thing. A lot of writers would have perhaps written Georgia as an almost Wicked Witch style character showing all the characteristics of a full blown bitch but here Parker presents her to the audience as a character who feels scorned, can’t stand her ex but has enough redeemable features to make her completely likable, and more perhaps even more important relatable, to the audience.

I found that being able to understand all of the character’s motivations made me feel much closer to all the characters themselves which ultimately made me feel like I was right there with all of them. Yes there at times in this film that are completely predictable, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I picked the ending a mile off, but what is most important here is just how enjoyable the journey to get to that ending is.

Even the comedy in this film works as well. There are the outrageous scenes, like the dolphin scene shown in the trailer, but for the most part the comedy comes from witty dialogue that kept raising chuckles throughout the film.

What also came to the fore for this film was the acting. Clooney and Roberts are on fire like the seasoned veterans they are throughout the film and the younger cast also rose to the occasion. Kaitlyn Dever once again showed why she is one of the most exciting young actresses in Hollywood at the moment while Maxime Bouttier does more than enough to suggest that he is a star on the rise.

Ultimately I found Ticket To Paradise to be an enjoyable comedy with heart and likable characters. Queensland comes up a treat on screen and the beautiful surrounds lends itself nicely to the heartfelt story. This is a film that is a lot better than many will give it credit for.

3.5/5 Stars