Ticket To Paradise Is A Delightful Rom-Com Vehicle For George Clooney And Julia Roberts, But I Hate The Last Two Minutes

George Clooney and Julia Roberts in final Ticket to Paradise scene.
(Image credit: Universal)

Spoilers for Ticket to Paradise can be found throughout this story. 

For weeks leading up to the release of Ticket to Paradise, there were two facts that seemed inarguable about the George Clooney and Julia Roberts rom-com. 

If you’ve seen Ticket to Paradise, you should already know both of these two things hold true. Clooney and Roberts have undeniable chemistry of the bantering variety and Ticket to Paradise cleverly sets them up in a storyline that avoids them having to do a lot of mushy, ooey-gooey rom-com stuff. It’s also set in Bali and is undeniably a story worth watching on a big screen, but maybe that’s just because I still love going to the movies. Despite these pros, I have to admit I hate the last two minutes. 

Here’s the gist if you are unfamiliar with the premise. Clooney and Roberts play exes David and Georgia Cotten, respectively, who have been split up for much longer than they were ever together. The couple had managed to produce a daughter during their five-year union, and every now and again they would reunite when societal dictates would force them into situations where they’d need to share space for the sake of their daughter, no matter how much they disliked the prospect. 

Speaking of their daughter, Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) has generally put pressure on herself to succeed. She’s landed her degree as a lawyer, but first she wants to travel to Bali with her pal Wren (Billie Lourd) where she promptly meets her husband-to-be and begins to rewrite the plan for her entire life. This means David and Georgia are in a bit of a conundrum, forced to work together for the first time in decades to achieve a goal: Stopping the wedding. 

Spoiler: It doesn’t work. 

Ticket To Paradise Ending: What Happens In The Last Two Minutes

New beginnings are the major theme at the end of Ticket to Paradise. In the last two minutes of the film, the wedding has gone through, perhaps not as planned, but it has given Lily a chance at a brand new life she never would have expected. Meanwhile, David and Georgia have finally grown enough to see each other as real people and to heal the rifts over the miscommunications and missteps that led to their two decades of strife. As they both decide to head home on a boat, the movie doesn’t lead its audience toward a grand kiss nor does it lead us toward a major declaration of love. Instead, it leads us to the promise of a start. At least that's what it seemed to be doing.

I loved this. I loved every single second of how Ticket to Paradise set up David and Georgia’s return to good graces with one another. It was a slow process, as the two had history, had known each other intimately and spent a good deal of time bickering in the movie. The movie excels in the relationship building space (there's even a beer pong scene guys!) and particularly with the chemistry from its leads. As Georgia and David boarded a ferry to leave their daughter behind in Bali, I thought, "How refreshing to leave on a promise and not a ridiculous romantic declaration.”

I was too soon in my assessment. During final two minutes of the movie, the two recall Georgia’s favorite life philosophy, ‘Why save the good stuff?” In an off-tone moment, they jump off the ferry – leaving all their luggage on board – to I guess leave their lives and careers on hold in order to blow off some steam for longer in Bali. It certainly follows in a long line of “big declarations” in rom-coms in years past. This movie didn’t need it. 

In addition, “why save the good stuff,” may be a major philosophy of Georgia’s, but it’s also what broke up their marriage in the first place. David’s desire to make her happy and build a home on the lake led them to being broke and exhausted and was the icing on the cake that tore their marriage apart. Clooney’s character himself tells this story in one of Ticket to Paradise’s most poignant scenes. I suppose it’s nice to learn the subsequent divorce didn’t ruin that sentiment for Georgia, but I dunno if it should be the hallmark of her reunion with David either. 

I’m not even getting into the annoying tendency of rom-coms thinking the “big declaration” is more important than logical details, like how are David and Georgia going to get their luggage back? Does their daughter even want them in Bali as she embarks on her own marriage? And what about the couple’s careers? Putting those on the backburner was a problem for both in the past, and while they are older and more established by the events in the movie, this still seems like it could turn into a contentious point. Honestly, I’m actually willing to go on the ride for the sake of fantasy and happiness, but I cannot get over the movie choosing to return to “why save the good stuff?”  

There was a scene earlier in the movie in which intense turbulence in the air on the way to Bali led Georgia and David to quickly hold hands before being disgusted with each other and breaking apart. As they boarded the ferry at the end of the film, I had the thought that wouldn’t it be perfectly circular if on the way back home  the two dealt with turbulence a second time. They might reach out, grab each other’s hands, and this time they would hold onto each other. That would have been the only sort of declaration I needed to see at the end of this movie. It had already done the hard work. 

Audiences don’t seem to mind the escapism offered by Ticket to Paradise, as the Rotten Tomatoes score from those who have seen the film has it running at 88% and the Universal rom-com is doing well at the box office, though critics have been less kind to the movie. I’m torn because the movie is pure escapism: it’s enjoyable and it should be seen on a big screen. But its last two minutes lost me, and unfortunately, that’s what’s sticking with me days after seeing the film. 

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.