Up in the Air

April 11, 2014 - George Clooney lives a baggage-free life until the thought that maybe he wants some baggage starts to weigh on him. Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick (from the Twilight movies) and Jason Bateman also star in this film based on the book by Walter Kirn. Look for scenes featuring J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott and Zach Galifiniakis.

Clooney plays Ryan Bingham. He spends the better part of the year flying from city to city, firing people for businesses that can't or won't do the deed themselves. His tidy, uncomplicated world exists on planes, in hotels, in a small suitcase and in a wallet filled with cards for airlines and car rental companies.

Everything is going well until two things happen. One night, in a hotel bar, he meets Alex (Farmiga), another frequent flier with a card collection to rival his own. They hit it off and make plans to meet as often as their travel schedules can sync up.

Not long after meeting Alex, Ryan gets called back to company headquarters in Omaha. Instead of sending people all over the country to do the firing, the company plans to start doing the firings through video chat. In other words, Ryan won't have to leave the office to do his job. He doesn't like it one bit, and suggests taking Natalie (Kendrik), the young woman who came up with the idea, on the road so she can see how it's done. The trip gives Ryan more time in the air, more opportunities to see Alex, and makes him wonder if being grounded, at least in some ways, is really such a bad thing.

Overall review: *** Clooney, Farmiga and Kendrick have good chemistry, and the directing keeps things moving along nicely. The movie is also a smart commentary on modern life and the value of having a touchstone when so much is up in the air.