Movie Review – Two Tickets to Paradise (2006)

Director: D. B. Sweeney

Stars: John C. McGinley, D.B. Sweeney, Paul Hipp

Two Tickets to Paradise follows the lives of three men who are firmly entrenched in middle age. Mark (McGinley) is man who regrets his wasted life, and this affects his relationship with his son. He’s also racking up gambling debts. Billy (Sweeney) is a former musician who has lost that reckless spark he once loved, and Jason (Hipp) is the third member of the crew who, on a rare occasion, strikes it lucky and wins tickets to a football game. The three of them decide to take a road trip down and escape their lives for a while.

This is a pretty low-budget film about three guys who are stuck in middle age, in lives that they didn’t dream of when they were younger. Their best days are behind them and all they see is a dark future looming. It’s quite a dark premise but the film is fairly light in tone, even though a lot of serious stuff happens. Of the three lead characters Jason gets the short shrift, with McGinley getting the best material to work with.

The story is okay, although a little depressing. But I think it will hold more interest for people a little older than I am, when the dreams of youth are firmly stuck in the past and getting ever further away. And I think this is good because it’s a subject that I don’t think is explored in films, at least not in the way it is here because things aren’t sugarcoated, and a lot of it is actually quite tragic.

Where the film is strongest is the road trip. It perfect captures the feeling of adventure and the crazy escapades that happen on road trips, and the camaraderie shone through. I found the dynamic between the characters authentic and genuine, and this helped my enjoyment of the film.

I thought the resolution was a little rushed and convenient, but it’s quite funny throughout and I was impressed by it. Like it’s main characters it’s flawed, but it captures the road trip spirit and it appeals to a demographic that I think will enjoy it a lot.

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