Movie Review: Up in The Air (George Clooney, Vera Farminga, Anna Kendrick) 2009

Posted: April 8, 2012 in Drama
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Ryan Bingham (Clooney) is a corporate downsizing specialist, he works for a company that exclusively fires people, because the original company that people work for doesn’t have the guts to fire the people they’ve hired.  Ryan likes his job, or at least the travel aspects of it, he’s got the airport down to a science, packing, security, which line to stand in.   Ryan’s only goal in life seems to be to rack up frequent flier miles, and to keep his life free of relationships, of any consequence, personal and otherwise.  He even lectures on it, What’s in Your Backpack, asks Ryan, and he wants people to lighten their backpacks, disentangle themselves from attachments to people, to things, to everything.  Ryan even meets the perfect woman for him, named Alex,(Farminga)  a female version of himself, commitment phobic, driven to succeed.  They meet in a hotel bar and Ryan impresses Alex with his concierge card from American Airlines, that’s how alike they are.   Life is perfect for Ryan, right?  So that of course means that something has to change.

Change for Ryan comes in the form of Natalie Keener (Kendrick) a recent college graduate, who has an idea to downsize people using videoconferencing, which would mean that Ryan is permanently grounded, a fact he does not like.  Ryan suggests to his boss, Craig  (Jason Bateman) that he take Natalie on the road with her to experience his technique in the fine art of downsizing people,  They fly from town to town, Natalie’s attempts at firing people don’t go that well, her relationships don’t go that well, her boyfriend texts their breakup, but yet she calls out Ryan on his relationship with Alex and asks him why he doesn’t  want a stable loving monogamous relationship, and he can’t answer that question, so he  asks Alex to come with him to his sister Julie’s (Melanie Lynsky) wedding, a big relationship milestone.  On the day of the wedding Julie’s fiancé, Jim (Danny McBride) gets cold feet, can Ryan talk Jim into marriage?  Can he talk himself into a stable, monogamous relationship with Alex?

I like this movie, but it contradicts itself.  Ryan talks about being commitment phobic, and not tying yourself down with relationships, but the only person he sees on the road is Alex, face it, Ryan is in a committed relationship whether he wants to admit it or not.  Secondly, Ryan is arguing for the personal touch in downsizing, but every other life choice he’s made argues against the personal touch.  That’s a contradiction.  There is a twist in this movie, and I like it, it was refreshing to see the tables turned. I really have a problem with Clooney’s acting, his voice descends into a dull monotone, his delivery of lines is robotic sometimes, emotionless, flat.  And that hurts this movie.  The only scene where he cuts through the blandness of his performance is a scene where he fires JK Simmons, he really reached me in that scene, but that was it.  Vera Farminga is very good, as the woman who stays true to herself, and does not deviate from the path she’s set out for herself.  Anna Kendrick, I can’t decide if her character us annoying or she is annoying,  I’ll have to watch her in something else to decide. Overall this is a good movie with some flaws.

Up in The Air.  Just Plane Good.

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