Julia Roberts and George Clooney are starring opposite one another in a romantic comedy, but they aren’t in love when they reunite.
“Worst 19 years of my life,” says Clooney’s character in the trailer, describing his relationship with his ex-wife, played by Roberts.
“We were only married for five,” she replies, which he then clarifies by noting: “I’m counting the recovery.”
The megastars teamed up for Universal’s Ticket to Paradise — marking each of their long-awaited returns to the romantic comedy genre. The trailer, which dropped on Wednesday, gives moviegoers a first look at Roberts and Clooney playing a divorced couple who come back together for a Bali excursion in hopes of stopping their lovestruck daughter (played by Kaitlyn Dever) from making the same mistake they think they made 25 years ago by marrying someone she just met and throwing her career away.
Billie Lourd, Lucas Bravo, Amanda O’Dempsey, Rowan Chapman, Murran Kain and Vanessa Everett round out the cast.
The trailer first dropped exclusively for the 2022 CinemaCon audience in the spring, with The Hollywood Reporter’s Chris Gardner reporting at the time that the highlight of the footage was seeing Clooney and Roberts sparring in “amusing fashion with sharp-tongued jabs before coming together to hatch a plan to stop the nuptials. There’s hijinks, physical humor, some drinking, some beer pong and even Clooney doing the classic running-man dance.”
Indeed, the trailer (watch, below) sees the exes attempting to trick their daughter into dumping her new fiancé, including stealing the wedding rings to spark a fight. “We have to call a truce to make this work,” says Roberts, with Clooney agreeing they must be in “lockstep” and attempting to put the passive (and aggressive) aggression on the backburner for their bigger cause.
Ol Parker (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) directed and co-wrote the script with Daniel Pipski — the script being the ticket that lured Clooney to the movie. “I haven’t done a romantic comedy really since [1996’s] One Fine Day,” Clooney told Deadline earlier this year. “I’ve done some sort of snarky ones, you know, and in this one, Julia and I just get to be mean to each other in the funniest way. … It’s just a really fun, fun, fun cast all the way around.”
And it was Clooney who helped book Roberts a return trip to rom-coms.
“People sometimes misconstrue the amount of time that’s gone by that I haven’t done a romantic comedy as my not wanting to do one,” Roberts recently told Vanity Fair of doing Ticket to Paradise after her 20-year genre break. “If I had read something that I thought was that Notting Hill level of writing or My Best Friend’s Wedding level of madcap fun, I would do it. They didn’t exist until this movie that I just did that Ol Parker wrote and directed.”
Of Ticket to Paradise, Roberts said she thought it would “only [work] if it’s George Clooney. Lo and behold, George felt it only worked with me. Somehow we are both able to do it, and off we went.”
Clooney and Roberts previously collaborated on Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and Ocean’s Twelve (2004), and in 2016’s Money Monster. Roberts also starred in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Clooney’s 2002 feature directorial debut.
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title produced the film alongside Sarah Harvey and Deborah Balderstone; Clooney and Grant Heslov for their Smokehouse Pictures; and Red Om Films’ Roberts, Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill.
The movie, which filmed in Queensland, Australia, saw its production briefly halted over COVID-19 in early 2022 and initially had a September release date.
Ticket to Paradise opens in theaters on Oct. 21.