Up in the Air

Bomb Rating: 

The basic premise of “Up in the Air” is that a person needs a family, at least some kind of permanence, in order to be truly happy. This is, of course, a giant, heaping pile of shit. It’s the kind of pile of shit we get in America because single people don’t spend as much money on greeting cards and gifts and strollers, so we need to make them feel like complete losers for it.

George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a professional human resources guy who flies around the country firing people. He spends something like 320 days out of the year on the road, has no personal life to speak of, and dreams of the day he hits 10 million frequent flyer miles.

First of all, the filmmakers undercut the idea of the happy, single person by handcuffing Ryan with a job so crappy that even a vindictive misanthrope would have trouble sleeping at night and not questioning the meaning of his existence. I mean, what the hell else is Ryan going to do except have some kind of personal values crisis?

The giant, fucked up metaphor in the film is an empty backpack, which is such a giant, glowing piece of elementary school symbolism that I wanted to express my outrage by dressing up like Barney, setting myself on fire, and running through the theater. Ryan gives little presentations throughout the country using the backpack as a symbol for how we all have too many possessions. Obviously, somebody with that narrow a view of existence is going to eventually look at that backpack and wonder where the fuck his intellect went.

Intellectual conflict is created by the arrival of Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) at Ryan’s company. Natalie has the idea that people could more easily be fired via the Internet than in person, thereby saving the company millions of dollars. It’s an idea with legs. Except that Ryan hates it. Natalie is the sort of recent business school graduate who’s so long on theoretical knowledge and so short on real-world experience that it’s a miracle she can get to work without urinating all over pant suit out of fear. Ryan believes that the personal touch is essential to his line of work and they set off on the road so Ryan can prove it.

Ryan’s emotional conflict comes in the form of Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), his female comrade-in-arms and fuck buddy. Alex shares all of Ryan’s views about the freedom of the single life and all that jazz and frankly, I saw the resolution of this relationship coming from so far away that I had to book a flight just to get there.

That we even live in a world where firing people via the internet versus firing them in person is actually some kind of acceptable conversation shows the kind of barren emotional and intellectual landscape where this film resides.

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Average: 3.8 (6 votes)

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My mom saw it on Christmas Day

gamerarocks's picture

with some friends; and she liked it.  Not that mumsie is an expert or has tastes like my own, and she's not a big Clooney fan, but to her it was entertaining and fun.  Just thought I'd say so cause the odds of me seeing this aren't significantly higher than of my becoming pope, but who knows. 

Impeach Jim Gibbons!



cheapugg's picture


I agree with you, ex cept this movie SUCKED.

Coaster's picture

Emotional Conflict, Intellectual Conflict: Sure the movie had those. What it lacked was some semblance of a plot.  A movie about character development alone just doesn't work and is more sleep-inducing than some kind of thing that makes people sleep.

Also, nothing blew up.

Just tell me this. . .

Wally_Pipp's picture

Is Vera Farmiga naked at any point at all in this movie? The "fuck-buddy" comment would seem to indicate this, but it's always better to be certain.

Not that I'm some sort of huge, Vera-Farmiga-stalker-type fan or anything but I like to be prepared when I get to Blockbuster whether to grab this or give it a pass. Sometimes acceptable nudity is the deciding factor for the entire trip.

By the way, what's the deal with the blond in the ET Exclusive Vanity Fair Oscar Party ad on these pages? Is it me or does she look like she just stepped out of a cocktail lounge on the Vegas Strip circa 1956? And not one of the nice lounges, either. You know, I get why you hire blond eye candy instead of actual broadcast journalists for your cheesy "magazine" shows. I always watch the Fox "News" Channel with the sound muted for this very reason.

But who made this casting decision and how did he get here from his job casting sleazy female extras for Dragnet and 77 Sunset Strip in 1958? Inquiring minds want to know!

Best regards, Wally

There is one nude scene

Critico's picture

from behind, a body double was used.

Well, hell.

Wulfgar's picture

Critico wrote:

from behind, a body double was used.


If I want anonymous female ass, that's what the Internet's for, goddammit. Why have hot young actresses in a movie if they don't get naked for real?


I demand real starlet tits, ass and beav! Say "NO!" to stunt-cunt!


~There ain't no Devil, just God when He's drunk.~


She is not that young

Critico's picture

that was probably it.

LOL @ Wulfgar.

HS's picture

"Stunt-cunt!"  I love it!



There's a "from behind" scene?

FearlessFreep's picture

Didn't know Hollywood had got that sophisticated =)


Wally, Wally...

RidingFool's picture

I'm so disappointed. How are you going to stay current if you keep the sound off?

Coaster forced me to watch CNN with the sound on!

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