Saturday, December 05, 2009

Up in the Air

From The Movie Snob

Up in the Air (B+). This is another solid effort from director Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking), and it is getting great reviews (current score: 82). George Clooney (Leatherheads) stars as Ryan Bingham. Bingham has an unusual job: when a company needs to fire a bunch of employees, they hire Bingham's company, and Bingham comes out and performs the actual firings. He supplements his income by giving "motivational" speeches about how the best way to live life is with as few encumbrances as possible--and he counts both possessions and human relationships as encumbrances. Consequently, Bingham basically lives on the road, spending maybe 40 days a year in his desolate apartment in Omaha, Nebraska, and he is well on his way to achieving his single goal in life--accumulating 10 million frequent-flyer miles. But of course the real world won't let Bingham off that easily. At work, a young whippersnapper named Natalie (Anna Kendrick, Twilight) proposes to cut costs (and Bingham's travel budget) by doing the firings over the internet. Bingham's little sister is getting married, and he feels obliged to attend despite his espoused philosophy. And in the course of his travels he meets an alluring blond (Vera Farmiga, Orphan) who seems to travel as fast and light as he does. How does an avowed nihilist deal with the unavoidable fact that no man is an island?

I liked it. It's a thoughtful and thought-provoking movie--and though not a comedy, it has some very funny lines. A few flaws keep it out of "A" territory for me, but I definitely recommend it.


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