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Featured DVD Review: Two Tickets to Paradise

September 11th, 2010

Two Tickets to Paradise - Buy from Amazon

I've mentioned in past reviews, in fact in a very recent past review, that the time between when a movie is filmed and when it comes out is usually an omen. Normally it takes a movie about a year from finishing shooting to theatrical release. Anything less than that, and it was probably rushed. Anything more than two years, and there's probably something wrong. Two Tickets to Paradise was filmed in 2005 before being released direct-to-DVD in 2008. This week it is being re-released on DVD for reasons only those at Paramount know. Given the film's bumpy road, my expectations have been kept low, but I am open to a pleasant surprise.

The Show

The film takes a look at the lives of three men who have been friends since high school, and whose high school days were clearly their peak. Mark was the star quarter back, but now he's got a gambling problem that is so bad his wife left him and took his son. McGriff was a guitar player with plans of becoming a rock god, now he drives a beer delivery truck for a living and his wife is cheating on him. Jason was a genius who graduated valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA and was accepted as pre-law at Penn, before flunking out and now works as a salesmen at an office supply store. All three of them are screaming towards 40, don't like the direction their lives are going, and have no idea how to turn things around.

They do get a bit of a break when Jason wins two tickets to a college bowl football game in Florida and the three of them decide to drive there to watch it. Three of them. Two tickets. You can probably see where the conflict will creep in.

This film is written by, directed by, produced by, and stars D.B.Sweeney, who has made a huge number of movies in his career. On the other hand, this is the first time he has written / directed / produced a movie. The road from actor to director can be a bumpy one, but there are some advantages. For a lot of first time writer / directors, they don't have the clout to pull together an impressive cast. Here D.B.Sweeney got John C. McGinley, Ed Harris, Pat Hingle, M.C. Gainey, Moira Kelly, and others. There are some good performances here, but the cast doesn't have a lot to work with. It's a pretty standard road trip movie in which the three leads talk a lot and sometimes have weird adventures (like crocodiles interrupting them while one of them is peeing on the side of the road). Some of the conversations are emotional and poignant, while others are pointless. And since these conversations are the emotional center of the film, the same can be said of the film itself.

Overall, enough doesn't work that I can't say I liked the movie, but enough does work that I can't say I hated it either. If you are in the target demographic, it is worth a rental, but that's about it.

The Extras

Extras start with an audio commentary track by D.B.Sweeney. It is a solo track, and like most such tracks, there's not a lot of energy, but there's also not a lot of dead air either. Next up are five deleted scenes and a lot of outtakes. This is better than a lot of direct-to-DVD movies get, so one can't complain. On the other hand, there's nothing new here compared to the original release.

The Verdict

If you are in the same demographic as the three leads in Two Tickets to Paradise, then the film is worth checking out. However, even if you are, the DVD is probably only worth a rental.

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