Ticket to Paradise: cast, plot and release date of George Clooney and Julia Roberts’ new rom-com

·4-min read
Ticket to Paradise: cast, plot and release date of George Clooney and Julia Roberts’ new rom-com

George Clooney and Julia Roberts are back together on screen, and this time they’re playing a divorced couple David and Georgia who are forced to unite in order to stop their daughter from getting married to a Bali local.

It sounds like a convoluted premise, but critics are, on the whole, loving it: “This preposterously fluffy rom-com recycles huge chunks of Mamma Mia!,” wrote The Standard‘s chief film critic Charlotte O’Sullivan in her review. “If you’re in the mood for a great escape, you’ve basically just won the lottery.”

It’s the first proper rom-com that both Clooney and Roberts have acted in in decades, and it’s also the first time the actors have starred in a film together (though they have worked together five times previously – including as a feuding ex-couple in Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve).

Here’s everything else to know about the highly anticipated film.

Who else is in it?

Kaitlyn Dever, whose previous credits include Booksmart, Dear Evan Hansen and Beautiful Boy, plays Roberts and Clooney’s daughter Lily.

Billie Lourd (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) plays Lily’s best friend (and apparently she’s incredible in the role), French actor Lucas Bravo (the hunk from Emily in Paris) plays Georgia’s pilot boyfriend and French actor Maxime Bouttier plays Lily’s fiancé Gede.

What else do we know about the plot?

The antics begin when art dealer Georgia and architect David’s daughter Lily plans to marry a Bali local (who she has just met) instead of pursuing a promising legal career. The duo happen to meet up on the plane on the way to her wedding and decide to put aside their differences for the sake of their daughter.

“I won’t let her throw her life away. We need to trick her into dumping him,” says Roberts. “As much as this will pain us both, we have to call a truce to make this work.”

They plan to steal their daughter’s rings. What cunning – that way the wedding won’t be able to go ahead! All the while Clooney and Roberts are bickering, and as could be predicted, start to hate each other a little less.

Ol Parker, Julia Roberts and George Clooney at the Ticket to Paradise premiere (Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Ol Parker, Julia Roberts and George Clooney at the Ticket to Paradise premiere (Joe Maher/Getty Images)

Are there any other production details?

As far as rom-coms go, Ticket to Paradise couldn’t have a stronger team behind it. The film has been directed by Ol Parker, who also wrote and directed 2018’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, and it has been written by Parker alongside Daniel Pipski, whose previous credits include producing 2020’s miniseries A Teacher and 2008’s Milk.

Working Title, who was behind some of the late Nineties and early Noughties’ best rom-coms – think Notting Hill, The Matchmaker, Four Weddings and a Funeral, High Fidelity, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Wimbledon – are co-producers of the film.

Is there a release date?

The film was set to be released today, but has been delayed out of respect for the Queen.

In a statement shared with Deadline, Universal said: “With the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, Universal, Working Title, Julia Roberts, George Clooney and director Ol Parker have all decided to delay the opening of Ticket to Paradise in the UK.”

Ticket to Paradise will now be released on Tuesday, September 20.

What are the critics saying?

Critics are, more or less, thrilled by the forthcoming film, even when failing to back up their compliments with generous star ratings. “It’s a joy to watch Julia Roberts and George Clooney fall in love. It’s an even greater joy to watch them bicker,” wrote The Independent.

“Ticket to Paradise is going to make its producers a ton of money. Sometimes it’s nice to be told life’s a beach,” wrote The Standard.

The Financial Times called it “a sugary screwball served with a thick wedge of nostalgia”. That certainly sounds like high praise.

What have Clooney and Roberts said?

By all accounts, it seems that the Hollywood stars are delighted to be starring together in Ticket to Paradise. For Roberts, the last rom-com she headlined was the 2001 Joe Roth-directed America’s Sweethearts, while for Clooney, it has been even longer.

Speaking to the New York Times, Clooney said: “I hadn’t really done a romantic comedy since One Fine Day [which was released in 1996] — I haven’t succeeded like Julia has in that forum — but I read it and thought, ‘Well, if Jules is up for it, I think this could be fun.’”

Roberts added: “It somehow only made sense with George, just based on our chemistry. We have a friendship that people are aware of, and we’re going into it as this divorced couple. Half of America probably thinks we are divorced, so we have that going for us.”

She added: “George and I felt a lot of happy responsibility in wanting to make a comedy together, to give people a holiday from life after the world had gone through a really hard time.”

Ticket to Paradise will be released in UK cinemas on September 20