Jason Reitman, USA, 2009, 109 min.
Why people love Up in the Air is beyond me. At best, it’s a cliche “coming of age” story with some good performances. At worst, it’s a soul-less mess as interesting as a trip to the airport. I lean towards the latter.
George Clooney’s transition-specialist character is as shallow as you could imagine. He lives on the road, avoids his family, involves himself in meaningless relationships, and enjoys his work because it keeps him isolated.
Over the course of the film, spurred on by a relationship with the similar traveller (Vera Farmiga), and the introduction of a young protege (Anna Kendrick), the main character will grow and change. He falls in love, he realizes the value of family and the solidarity that they represent.
Predictable, but what really hurts the film is that none of the characters are interesting, and none grow to be interesting. They are shallow, and their actions are efficient and mundane.
Reitman’s previous films were a good combination of writing, acting and directing. It’s just not the case for Up in the Air. The acting is fine. The direction is not horrible, but very plain. The writing is cliche and the characters are uninteresting.
I do not mind slow films, and I hesitate to use the word “boring” to describe a movie. But this one fit the bill. So officially I have to say: Up in the Air was boring.