Review: Up in the Air (2009 movie)

George Clooney’s job is to fly around the country firing people to save their bosses the discomfort. When an enthusiastic, fresh-out-of-college new hire (the very cute Anna Kendrick) convinces the boss they could save money by firing people in webcam chats, Clooney’s outraged reaction prompts the boss to send the the young woman around with Clooney so she can gather some real-world information on how the new tactic might work.

The story, based on the novel by Walter Kim, is smart enough not to go for the cliché of a romantic relationship between Clooney and the much younger Kendrick. (In fact, at one point he’s clearly shocked to overhear her telling her boyfriend that she doesn’t think about Clooney that way at all, because, like, he’s really old. Ouch, said every middle-aged guy in the audience.) Instead he connects with another regular traveler closer to his age, Vera Farmiga, first as a sex partner and later as a friend, which helps him break out of his deliberate avoidance of ties with friends and family.

While it’s fairly entertaining and well-acted, Clooney’s character is at times a borderline cartoon and some plot developments are a bit too contrived. I liked it but also wondered “So what?”


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