Up In the Air (Paramount Pictures) - Not the Best Movie of the year!
Once again, American film critics are slavering over the latest George Clooney movie. Some have already proclaimed, Up In the Air is the frontrunner for being named film of the year.
Now, allow my voice to proclaim: This is not the best movie of the year, or of last year, or of any year since the beginning of time.
Up In the Air is a depressing movie, about depressing people, none of whom merit viewers interest, focus, or attention.
Having said that, I will also add that this film features George Clooney's best performance in a movie; however, that is the result of his role being a man with the professed persona of Clooney himself. Ryan Bingham, the character he plays in the movie, wants relationships, but not commitment. Sound familiar?
Bingham flies all over the country as a paid hatchet man. Corporations don't want to be the bad guys in firing their employees so they hire good old Ryan to do the job for them. The sad thing is he loves his job. He loves flying all over the country and basically living in the sky. On the ground he lives in hotel/motel suites.
On a trip he meets fellow journeyman Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). She likes the loose, non-committed life also. They make the perfect team checking their blackberries to see where they can next hook up. They are strangers on a plane and loving it.
One day Ryan's boss Craig Gregory (a smarmy Jason Bateman) tells him they are going to bring the firing process in house and use teleconferencing to do it. This is the brainchild of new whiz kid Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick). But before they do this Ryan is to take Natalie on the road and show her some tricks of the trade.
This is basically what you get in this film. Director Jason Reitman seems to think someone who obsesses on how many air miles he can accumulate is someone of interest. This man also has no relationships with friends or family. He is pathetic.
Clooney is charming and funny as Ryan but it isn't acting per se, it is George being George just as John Wayne was always John Wayne. Farmiga does create a character and does a good job with her. Kendrick is good at projecting naïveté and innocence, but neither Farmiga nor Kendrick is outstanding in their performances.
The film is rated R for profanity and sexual situations.
The film may be titled Up In the Air but it will leave you feeling down in the dumps. If this is the best Hollywood has to offer then we are in bad shape indeed. Clooney may yet have a good performance in him, and he might even make a movie that is outstanding, but this one is not it. Not by a long shot.
My score for Up In the Air: A down on the ground, 5 out of 10.
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