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Up in the Air (2009)

The story of a man ready to make a connection.

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 109 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

The great recession of ’08-09 has gained blanket coverage in just about every form of media and it’s only fitting that it now has its very own romantic comedy. An environment of job losses and financial hardship doesn’t seem like the perfect place to stage a rom-com but it manages to add some substance to an often-lightweight film category.

Ryan Bingham (Clooney), on the frontline as a corporate downsizing expert (translation: redundancy monkey), travels throughout the US using his falsely compassionate manner to fire masses of employees. He lives out of a suitcase for most of the year, loving his nomadic existence and lack of emotional baggage, but his boss hires arrogant, young gun Natalie (Kendrick), and she threatens his lifestyle by implementing an automated firing system. He takes her on the road to show her the error of his ways and the two bitch and moan as they criss-cross the country. Along the way he meets Alex (Farmiga) – himself with a vagina – and begins to see downfalls of his life on the road.

At the helm, Jason Reitman has everyone playing to their strengths. George Clooney is the wordy, silver-tongued lothario with a sharp sense of humour and even sharper dress sense (I hate him), Vera Farmiga is a slightly cold yummy mummy love interest and Kendrick is a juvenile, Avril Lavigne-a-like youngster. There’s no doubting all three’s chemistry makes the film. Their witty barbs never gets tiresome and provide some very funny moments. The scenes with Natalie and Ryan are certainly best and parts of the film without Natalie desperately lack her acerbic wit. The movie also features some worthwhile cameos from rent-a-beard Zach Galifianakis and rent-a-‘tache Sam Elliot and a nice little touch comes in the addition of real-life victims of the recession playing employees who are fired in the film.

It's Got: Humour and substance, an original setting, bad George Clooney dancing (he is human after all).

It Needs: More Anna Kendrick.


This recession-era romantic comedy has enough substance and humour to win a broad spectrum of admirers.