A Paramount release presented in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios of a Montecito Pictures Co. production, in association with Rickshaw Pictures, in association with Right of Way Films. Produced by Daniel Dubiecki, Jeffrey Clifford, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman. Executive producers, Ted Griffin, Michael Beugg, Tom Pollock, Joe Medjuck. Directed by Jason Reitman. Screenplay, Reitman, Sheldon Turner, based on the novel by Walter Kirn.
Ryan Bingham – George Clooney
Alex Goran – Vera Farmiga
Natalie Keener – Anna Kendrick
Craig Gregory – Jason Bateman
Jim Miller – Danny McBride
Julie Bingham – Melanie Lynskey
Kara Bingham – Amy Morton
Maynard Finch – Sam Elliott
Bob – J.K. Simmons
Steve – Zach Galifianakis
“Up In The Air,” the second George Clooney headed for the theaters this holiday season, is one of my favorite films of the year. With a witty and believable script and stellar casting on all fronts, including in the very smallest of roles, this film should definitely be Oscar bound. Written and directed by big sweetie Jason Reitman from a novel by Walter Kirn (another sweetheart of a guy), Up In the Air tells the story of Ryan Bingham (Clooney) a “downsizing expert” who is flown all over the country, to perform layoffs. (I never knew that these people existed! What a downer of a job!) Brian is a complete loner spending 290 days away from his ratty motel home and has no commitments to anything or anyone. His second career is as a motivational speaker who basically encourages people to be as disengaged with Life as he is. He is the brother that is never there for his two sisters and his relationships with the opposite sex consist mainly of airport pickups and one night stands. His insulated myopic world is turned upside down by a number of coinciding incidents. First, a young female upstart is hired by his company with a plan to revert the business to an Internet-based one, which would ground the company’s workforce. At the same time, he is asked to perform a corny task for his sister’s wedding, which is totally in contrast to his cool nature. And on top of all that, he finally meets Alex, the woman of his dreams, wonderfully portrayed by the enigmatic, Vera Farmiga.
Clooney is stellar and brings such emotion to the role that it pops off the screen. It was so wonderful to be able to like this character as the set-up made it seem like he was going to be a complete jerk. Alternatively a smart ass but then a real doll, only Clooney, the Cary Grant of our generation, could’ve played this role and it is him at his very best. He transforms the character of Ryan into a modern-day Everyman. His romance with Farmiga is just smoking hot! Their tete-a-tetes, in bed and out, are some of the best lines in recent movie history. Anna Kendrick as Natalie, the over-confident newcomer to the business, reminded me of the doe-eyed, just out of college types that my former boss has surrounded himself with. Completely regimented with their lives planned out to the minute, these type of gals are clueless when Life hands them any sort of curveball. But it is a testament to Reitman’s intuitive writing, that despite her seeming smugness, the viewer actually comes to really dig Natalie. I particularly loved the hilarious generationally challenging exchange about relationships between Famiga’s Alex and Kendrick’s Natalie, which rang completely true. Another standout is Amy Morton, who plays Ryan’s older sister. Usually a theatre actress, I hope she does not get forgotten come Oscar time. And Jason Bateman, in a role reminiscent of his “Arrested Development” persona, gives a memorable turn as the snarky boss. There was not one part of this movie that was not done perfectly and you can totally relate to every move that these characters make
Up In the Air is riotously funny, but deeply poignant, at the same time. The scenes portraying the actual process by which workers are laid off and the accompanying anger, sadness, dejection, panic, and desperation they display were heartrending. I bumped into Walter and had a brief chat with him outside the theatre. He conveyed that he wrote this novel nine years ago inspired by the burst of the tech bubble. However, the film is even more topical today as it speaks so accurately to the current situation facing American workers. This is a film simply not to be missed.[salbumphotos=51,72,7,n,n,picasa_order]