Up in the Air (15)

Film

Comedy

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jan 12 2010

‘Up in the Air’ seeks comedy from two of America’s – indeed the Western world’s – most current fears: flying and redundancy. A tough ask, you might think, but director Jason Reitman offers an enjoyable balance of laughs and sorrows, pratfalls and body blows, even if this charming road movie (or should that be air movie?), adapted by Reitman and screenwriter Sheldon Turner from a 2001 novel by Walter Kirn, finally doesn’t end up anywhere nearly as interesting or original as the enticing signposts suggest en route.

This is Reitman’s third film after ‘Thank You for Smoking’ and ‘Juno’, both of which were much less assured when it came to marrying social reality and laughs. George Clooney is Ryan Bingham, a bachelor and corporate lone gun who derives more pleasure from the 300-plus days a year he spends travelling around the country making people redundant than the 43 ‘miserable’ ones he spends at home in a characterless apartment, out of step with the parochial glamour of his middle-rung executive lifestyle.

Bingham, played winningly straight by Clooney, is a rare airborne species whose entire existence is threatened when his company hires tight-faced, thrusting young graduate Natalie Keener (a fun Anna Kendrick) to reassess the company’s operations. This preppy pipsqueak’s big  idea is to stop sending reps around the country and instead give clients’ employees their marching orders via a glorified version of Skype. It’s an idea that falls sympathetically on credit-crunched managerial ears, although Bingham’s worried reaction reflects our conflicted response to the movie as a whole: half of him fears for those about to be sacked by satellite, while the other half fears losing a lifestyle that allows him to indulge in pleasures such as no-strings affairs with fellow travellers like Alex (Vera Farmiga), a good-time lady who implores him to ‘think of me as yourself with a vagina’. We might sympathise with those clearing their desks, but the threat of not being able to tag along with Clooney for the ride feels just as critical. It’s an honest point: empathy only ever stretches so far.

For all its superficial topicality, ‘Up in the Air’ mostly feels old-fashioned, nostalgic even, in its fond lament for a pre-9/11 world of travel. There are no security scares in this world. Its fetishisation of the rituals of flying is near-pornographic, with check-in girls substituting for bedfellows and frequent-flyer cards for sex toys. Bingham’s winning of millions of air miles come across as notches on his bed post. He’s the Warren Beatty of interstate business travel.

It’s a pleasure to watch an adult American comedy that tries to deal with the real world, however much of a fantasy it carves from it. But the film’s later scenes as Bingham attends the wedding of a distant sister and has to face some ground-level realities about himself and his relationships are not as convincing or edifying as they should be and his sideline in motivational speaking never rings true as a symbol of his changing attitude to life. The film’s final announcement that even the most frequent flights of imagination have to touch down at some point is conventional and a little disappointing. But the journey is a riot while it lasts.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jan 15, 2010

Duration:

104 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Jason Reitman

Screenwriter:

Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner

Cast:

George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|27
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Alice

I loved this film and Clooney is brilliant. It showed the best and worse of America. Can't undertand why people hated the cheesy wedding; this is the real stuff folks, nothing cheesy, just reality. Ryan is from Omaha, not from Manhattan and the film shows the contrast between 'little' America and 'hip' USA. And Alex expressed all the traditional male cliches-to see Clooney shattered and rejected....that was a treat! Great film.

Alice

I loved this film and Clooney is brilliant. It showed the best and worse of America. Can't undertand why people hated the cheesy wedding; this is the real stuff folks, nothing cheesy, just reality. Ryan is from Omaha, not from Manhattan and the film shows the contrast between 'little' America and 'hip' USA. And Alex expressed all the traditional male cliches-to see Clooney shattered and rejected....that was a treat! Great film.

villardi

The last time I commented on a movie here, a serious man, I ended up getting racially abused, so ouch. I enjoyed this one, it was a good story, geneuinely dry and witty, i found the characters interesting, if a little unbelievable, as they were far too attractive for the job they did of large scale firings of employees. Made me think abaout the meaning of relationships , but not in any profound way, and i didn't see coming the way the story panned out, which is always a nice surprise. I admire clooney for the diversity of his work. A thoughtful and intelligent actor who understands that film can educate as well as entretain. Hope I haven't upset anybody this time!

DV

Subtle, funny and moving. Go and see it if you have an interest in the unusual, empathy and compassion, and a sense of romance. Plenty of sniggers in our cinema.

I Don`t Give A Damn

Frankly M`Dear...just cos someone doesn`t enjoy a movie that you do enjoy does not mean they lack intelligence, thought and imagination. This film is rubbish.

Mehdi

I dont care if this film was deep enough or if the acting was oscar-worthy.. the film was, to put it simply, very enjoyable... you do see yourself in Ryan's shoes every now and then.. It has really funny moments and is almost comparable to the director's earlier film, Thank You For Smoking.. There was one scene that I thought was literally STOLEN out of Closer.. but I think I'll leave that to those who've seen both films.. for now, just watch it and enjoy the real-life laughter and irony of corporate success..

Frankly M&#039;Dear

This film is subtle, and subtly amusing. It reuires thought and imagination, which, fairly obviously, too many of those who went, found far past their capabilities. It's not a great film, neither is it bad, or boring. I think that many of the reviews here are by people who are used to too much sex, violence & dumbing down....it is DIFFERENT, and relevant to the way things were It IS entertaining, and a very tongue-in-cheek oerformance by Clooney. It probably won't win awards, but neither should it be dismissed. Worth seeing if you have intelligence & undersanding of this particular genre.

Tom McMaster

Went to see this film expecting to see a comedy with lots of laughs. I was very disappointed, and only was there nothing to laugh about, the storyline was so predictable and sad too.

alison

So bad it made my teeth hurt. The layering of predictable cliches was truly astounding. You knew they were coming but pleading for them not to. From the top-trumps-loyalty-card scene at the beginning to the all-you-need-is-love montage at the end it reeks of sentimental banality. It was the worst film I have ever seen and I like George Clooney. Don't waste your money, don't go.

JinB

Jenk I completely agree with your comment this film was such a damp squib. For a film which was supposed to be at least slightly alternative, I was frustrated and disappointed beyond belief that it had to end with themes of marriage and longterm love. What a letdown, George Clooney I expected more!

critique

Shiny American pap. I watched `A Prophet` straight after this and the contrast is startling.

oldbrit

Well this certainly polarises viewers, who either love it or loathe it! I thought the premise was clever the script largely good and it had some fabulous set-ups and dialogue. The three main characters were attractive and watchable. I did see the twist coming and the end was a tad predictable but otherwise it is an intelligent film for grown-ups

Goofy

This is from the stable of films that either moves you or doesn't. If like me you loved "Lost in Translation", then this is a film for you. Maybe to really appreciate the film you need to feel Ryan Bingham's lifestyle. Many of us could never associate ourselves with his shallow charactor. But allow yourself to dive into Reitman's adaptation and maybe see parts of yourself in Clooney's charactor. If you're honest enough to recognise parts of yourself, you'll reap the rewards of the film. I'm not ashamed to say I saw a mirror image of myself, maybe this is why I was moved to such a degree. True the film needs us to think a little deeper than the average Hollywood Blockbuster but isn't that what good movies are all about. Ask yourself are you in your own way trying in life to get your 10,000,000 air miles of some kind!?

Goofy

This is from the stable of films that either moves you or doesn't. If like me you loved "Lost in Translation", then this is a film for you. Maybe to really appreciate the film you need to feel Ryan Bingham's lifestyle. Many of us could never associate ourselves with his shallow charactor. But allow yourself to dive into Reitman's adaptation and maybe see parts of yourself in Clooney's charactor. If you're honest enough to recognise parts of yourself, you'll reap the rewards of the film. I'm not ashamed to say I saw a mirror image of myself, maybe this is why I was moved to such a degree. True the film needs us to think a little deeper than the average Hollywood Blockbuster but isn't that what good movies are all about. Ask yourself are you in your own way trying in life to get your 10,000,000 air miles of some kind!?

robert macrae

A truly brilliant, original performance by Clooney. He ably demonstrates that material selfishness cannot bring peace and happiness. He seems to have it all and then in the end he realises he has nothing.

robert macrae

A truly brilliant, original performance by Clooney. He ably demonstrates that material selfishness cannot bring peace and happiness. He seems to have it all and then in the end he realises he has nothing.

TrickyDicky

Having read this film and George Clooney had been nominated for Golden Globes, I figured this film might be okay. It wasn't. Yes, worthy of a single star for it's occasional humour, but otherwise I was wishing it would end. Way too long. I wouldn't hurry to see this one if I were you.

usman khawaja

i do agree the acting sporadically is good but all the tedious cliches about cruel corporates sacking employees without any genuine excuse and employing strangers to do it is presumably satire on the corporate system ,but it dwells so long on this perspective of the plight of the victims that it reeks of vulgar sentimentality . the second aspect is about the differences between sex and love ,where clooney meets his female nemesis in vera famiga and they have sex in every corner of the united states in every hotel from closets to towel racks ,this is meant to be the modern counterpart of a compromised relationship ,devoid of love or comittment and brimming with erotic desire like instant pleasure just like the instant food that they eat across the country . then comes along the familiar family wedding whrere clooney is repudiated as a stranger and comes to rescue it as a local hero in cheesy details and this was truly horrid . the apprentice he trains in his horrid job as the victims are being fired ,is even more emotionally remote than him and immature in every detail as kinnick - essentially it all comes to virtually nothing in the ending and no one learns anything that is of any meaningful value and as for the philosophy that is retained in a cardboard picture of an american couple who want it photographed against every landmark in states as they cannot afford to visit them -but will like souvenir pics instead is rather ludicrous -an artificial movie with able performances and vera and clooney look good -but there is little else to ponder upon . and it ends up being a dark romcom with a dark message as to how to get rid of your staff employing hired labour to fire them -that sounds daft and it is daft .

David Glowacki

This is classic Hollywood stuff.It's all there,the cliches,the stereotypes,the weepy bits,the happy bits.All packaged in a neat manipulating bundle for the masses.It starts off hard hitting showing corporate America at it's most brutish.Then after 30 mins,it descends into brian Rix farce,with cringing acting.Then it moves into the main point of the film which is "romantic comedy" scenes and then the wistful part at the end.This is nothing more than Saturday night with the girlfriend and popcorn stuff.Oh and l forgot,to mention the corny,sad music in the background.Awful!!

Violetta

Ryan Bingham's main aim in life is to notch up millions of air miles travelling the US firing staffers whose bosses are too chicken livered to carry out the noxious deed themselves. Ryan has a sideline on the lecture circuit telling wannabes how to improve their life by emptying out their old kit bags. But Ryan's kit bag of life is already empty of any relationships of substance, his sister berates him, "Ryan, for us you don't exist." He finds his perfect match, an airport hopping alpha female who's happy to trade executive status cards for stopover nights in the sack. Ryan gets too close and let's down his social isolation with unpredictable results. A great credit crisis movie that may shred a few tender egos, if you've been there on the other side of the desk.

Jerry 58

This has got to be a contender for film of the year. Clooney in top form, Anna Kendrick was a perfect foil for him . Lost it,s way in the last 20 minuets, but the last shot you knew balance had been returned to the universe

Jerry 58

This has got to be a contender for film of the year. Clooney in top form, Anna Kendrick was a perfect foil for him . Lost it,s way in the last 20 minuets, but the last shot you knew balance had been returned to the universe

Phiney

The worst film I have ever seen. If you like a film about unpleasant people doing an unpleasant job, behaving in an unpleasant way filmed in grey sepia - then this is for you! It didn't engage in the first 30 mins. It isn't funny at all. Super dull. If you are an insominac you might find it a useful way to get some extra sleep.

Bob

This movie shows some of the things wrong in contemporary US. Not only does it comment on the economic crisis, it also comments on the individualisation of people. It is truly an entertaining, at some times brilliant movie, that will definitely get some Oscars (if not already due to its political nature). A definite must see.