Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride
Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 4/5
Word of Warning: Lots of product placement in this movie, sometimes distracting from what is otherwise a great film.
Before I expound on “Up in the Air” I want to make a statement. Apparently American Airlines paid a lot of money to be the featured airline in this film, however, you should beware the only airline that has ever official lost my luggage was AA. I’ve flown with them three times and all three times I experienced numerous delays. I was once stuck at the Salt Lake City airport for hours with no apology or explanation. American Airlines sucks!
With that out of the way, I will give you my review. This movie reminded me of “Lost in Translation“ with a little more levity. Clooney usually plays a too-cool-for-school fast-talking guy, but his character in “Up in the Air” is a little more believable than some of those previous characters. In fact, Ryan Bingham is realistically average and even a little dull.
Bingham, a forty-something suit, spends most of his time in the air. When he is on the ground, he is a corporate downsizing expert, meaning he fires people for a living. He travels over 300 days a year. His one goal in life is to reach 10 million frequent flier miles, something only six other people on AA have accomplished.
Unfortunately for Bingham, a bright young Cornell graduate has recently infiltrated his company, bringing with her new ideas on how they can streamline their firing practices. Natalie Keener, played by Anna Kendrick of “Twilight“ fame, has devised a plan for video conferencing firing – ground the experts and put them behind a computer screen with a video camera. No fuss, no mess.
Bingham is not happy about this plan and his boss (Jason Bateman) decides to let Bingham take Keener on his next round of firings so she can see what it is really all about. This trip turns into more than Bingham bargained for, forcing him take stock in his own mundane existence.
This movie is sad, funny and insightful. Anna Kendrick holds her own in the shadow of George Clooney. In fact, being a “Twilight“ alum, I wasn’t expecting much from Kendrick, but she surprised me with her exceptional acting ability.
“Up in the Air” has a well-constructed, solid storyline, is well acted and brings to life the lifeless world of airline travel and cookie-cutter chain hotel lodging. I highly recommend this movie and hope to see it do well at the Oscars. It is one of the best of 2009.