Clooney & Co in one perfect movie

"Up in the Air" is one perfect movie up in the air or on the ground.

| Dec 24, 2009

“Up in the Air” is a delightful film about a very undelightful subject: firing people from their jobs.

Written and directed by Jason Reitman, who previously made the 2006 “Thank You For Smoking” and the 2007 “Juno,” this film has already won some awards and is sure to win many more.

hotshots-logoGeorge Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a “termination engineer” based out of Omaha, Nebraska, who flies all over the country to fire people whose own bosses don’t want to do it themselves.

In a voice-over narration, Bingham says, “Last year I spent 322 days on the road, which means that I had to spend 43 miserable days at home.”

Yes, Bingham loves to travel, which he has developed into a science of efficiency, and he doesn’t spend a nickel if he can help it, unless it adds to his frequent-flyer miles. He wants to hit 10 million miles and become one of only seven people to have reached that prestigious mark.

However, Bingham encounters an obstacle to his plans the next time he goes home and sees his boss, played by Jason Bateman, at the company that employs him.

His boss has hired Natalie Keener, a young efficiency expert fresh out of college, and she has come up with a way that the company doesn’t have to have 23 people on the road at least 250 days a year.

Yes, fire people long-distance by using videoconferencing to give them the bad news.

Of course, Bingham is against this way of working, and their boss tells him to take Natalie out on the road with him to show her the ropes of flying and of firing people face-to-face.

In the meantime, Bingham has met another frequent flyer on the road working for another company, and they try to arrange their schedules so that they can meet in the same city occasionally and share a hotel room together, if you catch my drift.

As another subplot, Bingham’s sister is getting married, and he has been given the task of taking a large cutout photo of the couple with him on his travels and photographing the cutout in front of various landmarks.

“Up in the Air” is smart, it is funny, it is thoughtful, Clooney is terrific, and it is one perfect movie up in the air or on the ground.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”

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