Up in the Air

Rated R 109 min. 2009

Don’t over-think this one, folks. Commentators of all stripes are going to talk about Up in the Air in terms of its relevance, and in so doing, they will overlook how simply satisfying it is as a piece of filmmaking. Even when director Jason Reitman’s loses its footing in the third act, Up in the Air remains charming in a way that far too few contemporary films manage to be.

“Charming” certainly isn’t a way to describe the professional life of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), who makes his living as a hired-gun deliverer of bad news to companies’ laid-off employees. He also spends most of his days traveling from city to city, and that life-on-the-go seems to suit Ryan just fine — so fine, in fact, that he’s rocked by a proposal from his employer’s new go-getter hire, Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), that they save travel expenses by doing all their axing via video conferencing.

In an attempt to show Natalie how it’s really done, Ryan takes her on the road with him, at the same time that he happens to be firing up a long-distance fling with another frequent flyer, Alex (Vera Farmiga). Reitman and Sheldon Turner worked on the adaptation of Walter Kirn’s novel, and the script does provide plenty of pizzazz, particularly the interplay between Ryan and Alex. Clooney and Farmiga go at it with the gusto of two people used to being quicker on the verbal draw than anyone else in the room. It becomes a giddy delight watching these two wary players circle one another, reveling in snappy one-liners. Their scenes are so enjoyable it would take a knockout performance to steal the show — and that’s exactly what Anna Kendrick provides as Natalie.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.TheUpInTheAirMovie.com

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Walter Kirn and Jason Reitman

Producer: Daniel Dubiecki, Jeffrey Clifford, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman

Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott, Danny McBride and Zach Galifianakis

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