Two Tickets to Paradise


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Rating: R

John C. McGinley as Mark
D.B. Sweeney as Billy McGriff
Ned Bellamy as Stan
Brian Currie as Collector
Dilsey Davis as Janice
M.C. Gainey as Barbosa
Tristan Gretzky as Hayden
Ed Harris as Melville
Pat Hingle as Mark’s Dad
Paul Hipp as Jason Klein
Janet Jones as Sherry
Nina Kaczorowski as Scarlett
Moira Kelly as Kate
Rex Linn as Karl
Tanya Mayeux as Jade
Giulia Pagano as Judy
Tim Parati as Lazy Pete
Ed Wagenseller as Slick
Vanna White as Herself

Directed by D. B. Sweeny

Special Features:
Director’s Commentary
5 Deleted Scenes
2 Alternate Trailers

Other Info:
5.1 Dolby Digital Sound
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 91 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“The film festival favorite boasts an all-star cast including John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”), Moira Kelly (“One Tree Hill”), Ed Harris (“Gone Baby Gone”) and Sweeney (“Jericho”) in a comical look at old friends and new beginnings. Unfortunately for Mark (McGinley), McGriff (Sweeney) and Jason (Paul Hipp, “Waking the Dead”), their best years seem to have been back in high school when the world saw them as a star athlete, a rock god and a genius. Twenty years later they can’t catch a break. Until they score two tickets for the biggest game of the year: The College Football Championship Bowl. Seeing it as their chance to break out and hit re-set, the guys take a road trip to Florida. But will their friendship survive hungry alligators, barroom losers and the most challenging obstacle of all: each other? Garnering numerous awards during its festival run, “Two Tickets to Paradise” also marks the on-screen reunion of Sweeney and Kelly, who starred in the contemporary classic “The Cutting Edge.”

“Two Tickets to Paradise” is rated R for language including crude sexual references, and some drug use.

“Two Tickets to Paradise” was originally released in 2006, released on DVD in 2008, and released again on DVD in 2010. I don’t know exactly why there were so many releases over the years, but there you have it. For me, the appeal of this movie is the cast. John C. McGinley was funny on “Scrubs” and I’ve liked D.B. Sweeney’s work in the past. Oddly though, the DVD cover touts Moira Kelly (from “The Cutting Edge”) and Ed Harris as stars in the movie. They’re actually barely in it. You’d also expect to hear Eddie Money’s song at some point, but there’s nary a hint of the tune. Despite the disappointments, “Two Tickets to Paradise” is still a mixed bag.

The film has a bit of trouble finding the right tone. At times you think it’s trying to be a wacky comedy. We see strippers dizzily fall off of platforms, fart jokes, Vanna White’s childhood home burn down, and other lowbrow humor. But at other times there are sappy emotional scenes, dramatic moments where the characters confront each other, and thoughts of suicide. It is possible to mix comedy and drama, but it doesn’t work all that well here.

“Two Tickets to Paradise” starts out promising enough as the three lead characters have their lives slowly spin out of control. When Jason wins tickets to a championship bowl game, they decide to take a road trip to get away from it all. At this point I was still on board with the story. But as they drive to Florida, the guys get high on mushrooms, lament their lot in life, and ultimately become suicidal. This is where things fall apart. I’m all for a good road trip movie, but the events that happen to our characters are not all that entertaining. And despite all their troubles, their plan for suicide is a bit hard to buy, even if they are high. The movie ends on a rather unsatisfying yet predictable note.

I’d only recommend “Two Tickets to Paradise” to big fans of Sweeney or McGinley. I’m not sure anyone else will be that into it. It may be worth watching if it appears on TV, but it’s not one I’d recommend buying.

You’ll find a modest selection of bonus features on the DVD. There’s a director’s commentary, 5 deleted scenes, and outtakes.