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No Jet Lag Here: Up In The Air review!!!


Up In The Air

George Clooney takes his smirk to the friendly skies in Jason Reitman's excellent "Up In The Air." Clooney is Ryan Bingham, a middle-aged corporate mediator who specializes in dishing out the bad news for recently terminated employees. Our economic woes have kept Ryan rather busy, putting his people skills to the test as distraught folks try to cope with an uncertain future.

Ryan is at ease with this nomadic lifestyle, which keeps him sitting in the first-class cabin rather than forcing him to connect with other passengers. He even gets to hook up with Alex (Vera Farmiga) a fellow frequent flyer who finds foreplay in Ryan's display of his hotel discount cards and travel points.

However, Ryan's bliss is grounded when his boss Craig (Jason Bateman) decides to end his traveling days by using a system that puts him back in a cubicle. The new system is based on a plan by young upstart Natalie Keener (Anna Kendick of the "Twilight" series, and yes, she can act!) Finding a permanent stay in his Omaha apartment an unbearable fate, Ryan's argument over Natalie's inexperience convinces Craig to ask him to show the young woman the ropes, one flight at a time.

While at first Ryan's blunt view of the world collides with Natalie's naive yet romantic one, in each destination an esteem for the young woman begins to grow. As Natalie's emotions are tried in every firing she has to relay, Ryan finds himself encouraging his new protege to stay the course. Oddly enough, it might also dawn on Ryan how shitty his line of work really is.

"Up In The Air" is Jason Reitman's best work to date, fusing the dry humor of "Thank You For Smoking" with the attempted warm touch of "Juno." Additionally, "Up In The Air" elevates some of the shortcomings from his prior films, displaying a maturity in delivery and style. Reitman intersperses testimonials from real-life unemployed men and women along with actors to the narrative, reminiscent of Jean-Luc Goddard's interviews with French youth in "Masculine Feminine." Reitman never forgets the dark shadow of today's rough labor climate, painfully looming in each city where Ryan and Natalie arrive. A great montage has the duo going from one nearly vacant office to the next in every middle American city they visit.

Nevertheless, Reitman never steers away from the comedic story of a man's emotional transformation, and the movie is very, very funny. But unlike corny fluff like "The Family Man," Reitman takes an unexpected route, one that puts Ryan and our own thoughts about relationships in perspective. Reitman also gets the most out of George Clooney, who we believe after some contemplation to be the new Cary Grant. Yes, Grant always played Grant, and Clooney always plays Clooney, but this time the leading man showcases frailty seldom seen in his career. Bitter Balcony is really pleased by "Up In The Air" and hopefully you get to see it with your favorite co-pilot.


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Official website:

Up In The Air


Directed by: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (screenplay), Walter Kirn(novel)
Written by: Jason Reitman
Cast: George Clooney, Anna Kendick, Vera Farmiga

Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

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