Longtime friends and frequent co-stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts toss back shots and break out funky dance moves in “Ticket to Paradise,” a romantic comedy in which they play hostile exes.
Universal Pictures brought a sneak peak of the film — which opens in theaters on Oct. 21 — to CinemaCon, the annual exhibition trade show currently underway in Las Vegas.
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The two A-list stars were not on hand at Caesars Palace to promote “Ticket to Paradise,” but movie theater owners in the audience still appeared to be entertained by their on-screen reunion.
Clooney and Roberts play a divorced couple who fly to Bali to stop their lovestruck daughter (played by Kaitlyn Dever) from marrying a man she barely knows. The trailer, which hasn’t been released yet to the public, showcases several funny moments, including Clooney’s character drinking everyone on the island under the table and playing beer pong, which later prompts him to do the wave and the funky chicken.
Another moment that got a chuckle from the crowd: Robert and Clooney’s characters refused to sit next to each other on the plane and hurled insults until a flight attendant lets them switch.
“Worst 19 years of my life,” Clooney says, to which Roberts replies, “We were only married for five.”
“I’m including the recovery,” he fires back.
They attempt to set aside their differences and call a truce in the name of scaring their daughter out of marrying a person who is essentially a stranger.
“We have to do a Trojan Horse to make her think we’re OK with this,” Clooney tells his ex-wife. But their daughter doesn’t suffer fools. The minute they land on the beach, she tells them: “You don’t have to do a whole Trojan Horse thing.”
Ol Parker, best known for “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” directed “Ticket to Paradise” and co-wrote the script with Daniel Pipski.
Roberts, the patron saint of romantic comedies, hasn’t returned to the genre in nearly 20 years. But after a stretch including but not limited to “Pretty Women,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Runaway Bride,” “Notting Hill,” and “Eat Pray Love,” Roberts says she struggled to fall in love with a script — that is, until “Ticket to Paradise.” As a bonus, the film offered a chance for Roberts to reunite with Clooney for the first time since 2016’s heist thriller “Money Monster.” They also collaborated on director Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Oceans Twelve.”
Romantic comedies have mostly been brushed off as a dying breed, at least theatrically speaking. However, the genre has been showing signs of life after Paramount’s “The Lost City,” an amorous action-adventure starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, made a splash on the big screen this spring, grossing $100 million worldwide to date.
Universal is hoping that audiences will continue to show love for romantic comedies with “Ticket to Paradise” and Billy Eichner’s romantic comedy “Bros,” which opens in theaters this summer.
Eichner, who was on hand in Las Vegas, had the audience in stitches as he teed up the trailer for “Bros,” which is the first gay romantic comedy from a major studio.
“Usually when I come to Vegas, I come to see gay icons perform, like Cher, Britney Spears and the Bellagio fountain,” he joked.
He then skewered Hollywood for largely ignoring stories about same-sex couples. “It’s important that before we got one movie about a gay couple we got two movies about talking hedgehogs,” he said. “If you like hedgehogs you’ll love gay people.”
On a more serious note, Eichner said, “It isn’t about gay people suffering tragically, it’s about how hard it is to find another tolerable human being to go through life with.”
In the film, Eichner plays Bobby Leiber, a podcast host who get a shot at writing a romantic comedy about a gay couple, but one that “straight people will like.” The assignment forces Eichner’s character to confront his own issues around intimacy and relationships.
The footage gives a glimpse at sweeter moments, like Eichner’s love interest Luke Macfarlane, and raunchier moments, like a four-person orgy. (In one of the several meta voiceovers in the trailer, Eichner’s character says he hates the “Hollywood bullshit” of the camera pulling away when people are about to hook up.)
Eichner promised the theater owners that gay people were good for business (joking that lesbians love Raisinets) and added the film will be a positive experience for straight audiences. His character might disagree, however.
“Gay sex was more fun when straight people were uncomfortable with it,” Bobby lamented in the final moments of the trailer.
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