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Up In The Air

Year: 2009
Studio: Paramount
Director: Jason Reitman
Producer: Jason Reitman
Writer: Jason Reitman/Sheldon Turner
Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Melanie Lynskey, J K Simmons, Zach Galifianakis, Sam Elliott

Jason Reitman can do no wrong in Hollywood so far, although I have to be up front in admitting the only film of his I've liked has been Thank You For Smoking.

Juno was too clever for its own good, more interested in waving 'festival directors, pick me!' signs than telling an interesting story.

And, against the opinion of award voters the world over, I didn't think much to this film, too long by half and not about anything. In fact, praise has been so glowing I still wonder if I went into the wrong film or fell asleep and dreamed half of it.

It's the story of corporate downsizing consultant Ryan Bingham (Clooney), perfectly happy with his clutter-free and completely mobile lifestyle as he flies all over America firing people. He's enjoying an on-again, off-again affair with a fellow road warrior (Farmiga, the picture of mature, stylish sexiness) and finds himself testy and uncomfortable whenever he has to come home to his colourless apartment.

But when his boss brings in an upstart young efficiency expert (Kendrick) that wants everyone to do their firing over the Internet, it brings Ryan's world crashing down when it looks like the end of his cross-country lifestyle. To add insult to injury he's roped into taking her everywhere with him while she learns the ropes.

There seems to be lots of themes - among them people connecting, modern corporate behaviour and the difference between people and economics - but I haven't seen a film in so long where so much happens without anything being said. I didn't know what the story was telling me, there seemed no real point to any of it and whatever everyone loved about it went right over my head.

Ryan's redemption (pursuing the woman he realises he loves for a 'real' relationship and trying to reconnect with the family he mostly ignores) isn't prompted by anything, and as the writer, Reitman has given everything and everybody involved far too much free reign to make his points...whatever they are.

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