Film: Up in the air
Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga
Direction: Jason Reitman
Rating: HHHH& 1/2
It’s smart, satiric and thoroughly engaging. Writer-director Jason Reitman broadens his tonal range with the follow-up to the unwanted-pregnancy comedy, Juno (2007).
Adapted from the 2001 bestseller of the same name, Up in the Air tells the story of a management consultant (Clooney) who specialises in giving the pink slip to employees of companies that are downsizing.
Jetting around America on a daily basis, the serial sacker is more concerned about accumulating frequent-flier miles than forging any lasting emotional bonds. He even gives motivational lectures extolling the virtues of living with minimum material baggage.
However, he has to re-assess his own priorities when confronted with a sassy fellow jetsetter (Farmiga). His nomadic lifestyle is further threatened by a new recruit (Anna Kendrick) who proposes to terminate jobs via video-conferencing. For once, the female characters aren’t mere fodder for the male protagonist.
While there’s no doubt that Reitman and his co-scenarist Sheldon Turner can write acerbic dialogue, the momentum does tend to sag towards the climax. A pep talk about the joys of marriage is uncharacteristically sappy. Consequently, the film never quite regains its verve.