I can't think of too many movies that came out this year that had a title as bad as this one. Up in the Air? Is that really the best they could come up with? I know that was the title of the book it was based on but, geez...it sucks! A good friend of mine from high school worked on this movie as the Second Assistant Camera Operator (his name is Craig M. Bauer and he's right after the cast in the credits...look for him!). He said while filming this movie, "this one is actually really good." He's a jaded film crew member who's worked on way too many movies to ever say a movie is GREAT, but this one truly is. George Clooney stars as a professional bad news-giver who travels the country, day after day, firing employees at different companies. His life is full of hotels, flights, casual relationships and no baggage. He believes this is the best way to live since he's never weighed down by anything or anyone. Anna Kendrick, who you might remember as Bella's plucky human friend "Jessica" in the Twilight series, is a young up-and-comer for Clooney's company who's being forced to tag along with him on a round of firings to see what field work is like. Vera Farmiga (The Departed) is a sexy siren of the sky that he meets in his travels, who lives like him. Out of this situation, we have the makings of a dramedy that is sure to pick up some Oscar nominations. Clooney does what he does best by being the suave playboy he pretty much is in real life. The vulnerability he displays in his emotions though are muted and subdued; but that seems to be the kind of guy his character is. I think if I saw a real watery breakdown of tears I'd cry "Hollywood schlock" at the screen. Instead this movie dwells in a world that is very real, very timely and very shallow and sad. At a time when everyone knows at least one person that is out of work, it's hard to care about a character who fires so many on a daily basis without a care of what kind of person they leave in the dust. But believe it or not...you do. That's the wonder that director/writer Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking) has done. He made a very unlikable character not only likable, but sympathetically lovable. Not an easy feat since the film is padded with montages of real life people from Detroit and St. Louis talking to the camera throughout the film about being laid off from their real jobs, some with devastatingly real tears. Up in the Air takes that reality and makes it hopeful, happy and a perfect mirror on what's really important in your own life by being a very funny-at-times movie that's also about the recent sadness, despair and depression of the current economic turmoil in the country and uses those real life stories of terminations to frame what the movie is really about...connections. Hmm...maybe that should have been the title.
Up in the Air (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: A