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Movie fans get a 'Ticket to Paradise' this October with George Clooney and Julia Roberts reunion

The stars and real life friends return to the screen together for the fifth time, sparring as exes in this romantic comedy.
Credit: Universal Pictures

ST. LOUIS — Chemistry doesn’t grow on trees on screen. Movie fans don’t just slip into a cinematic coma with any pair of well-matched stars. They have to be able to generate enthusiasm and intrigue all at once, keeping you interested and hoping for the thumbs up after the curtain comes up. For my money, George Clooney and Julia Roberts have wonderful chemistry.

It was on full display during the “Ocean’s Eleven” remake and the sequels that followed it, the third and final film really sticking the landing well. Clooney and Roberts played former lovers who start the story divorced and then rekindle their flame over the course of the original before bickering like pros off each other in “Twelve” and “Thirteen.”

That bickering turns sour in this October’s “Ticket to Paradise,” which casts the two stars as divorcees who hate each other’s guts yet have to come together help their daughter (played by the very talented Kaitlyn Dever) avoid their mistakes with her new beau (the eye-charging Maxime Bouttier). It’s not the most complicated of plot setups, even if the comedy and writing reminds of the underrated Meryl Streep/Alec Baldwin romantic comedy, “It’s Complicated.”

“Ticket to Paradise” doesn’t have to win awards for originality. The script from director Ol Parker and Daniel Pipski can lean on its leads, letting their charisma take over. And it’s not going to be a loving reunion this time, at least for the first hour. Clooney’s bachelor would have sat next to anyone else on the plane, except for his wife. When her parents’ shenanigans turn boozy at one point in the trailer, Dever’s Lily tells her friend that she’s hoping for an asteroid to hit.

With just any pairing, this setup could go downhill and come off as lame or just boring. But seeing the all silver (and lightly bearded) fox Clooney getting drunk and dancing with Roberts is something we don’t get to see every year. Most of the time, it takes 4-6 years for the two to get back together on screen.

To be honest, it’s not as if they’re busy cinema-working bodies these days. Since their last outing, “Money Monster”, Clooney has starred in one film and Roberts has led in just two. That 2016 drama, revolving around a financial TV host and a hostage situation, snuck up on the viewer due to the caliber of the acting more so than the writing. These two don’t need a whole lot to create something diverting and possibly funny for two hours.

Universal is taking that bet candidly, marking “Ticket to Paradise” as a theaters-only release on Oct. 21. They know the box office potential with Clooney and Roberts, who will enjoy a birthday a week after this movie’s release-a date easy to remember, because it’s also my wife’s birthday.

A treat right before the kids go trick-or-treating up and down the street, “Ticket to Paradise” has its sights set on the adults who need a good comedy.

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