“Up In The Air” is a lemon merange pie that your neighbor who drinks too much and has open sores around their mouth made. It was made to please and has all the seemingly right ingredients but something’s amiss and it smells like Red Stripe.
And that may sound good to some people, so to those who enjoy rancid saccharin–go for it.
Otherwise, stay away from this Oscar-begging, chock full airsickness bag.

I know that it must be hard translating a novel about most people’s least favorite ‘locations’: hotels, airplanes, dismal corporate offices, and Wisconsin. Reitman had his work cut out for him and I think he failed. How can I say this? Isn’t this supposed to be “Oscar Buzz” stuff?

Well, that’s exactly part of the problem. It seems determined to please the Oscar Usual Suspects: old white douchbags. It parades like its ‘timely’ because it discusses the global economic collapse but that’s just a backdrop to frame its gimmick: The lead character’s job is to fire people. That’s compelling right? That kind of thing got “Sunshine Cleaning” made!

The movie gets confused on the point of how it wants to deal with this issue also. Is this a character study about Clooney or is it a statement to our beatdown nation where many have been laid-off and only more are just waiting for the axe? The first seems the natural answer, but there isn’t much character to study here. The one scene of transition comes wrapped up in a cliche: “I’m here to tell you about my old philosophy…but wait….my new philosophy might just make me act on it right now and I’ll have to run away to the airport to do something really romantic!” It also muddies the water by spending as much time as it does on the characters being laid off and then for some unknown reason….(actually the reason to appear populist and to appeal to jerkoff Oscar voters who actually got suckered in for the ‘Crash’ schmaltz)…the film includes a number of “real life” confessionals of people who had lost their jobs. Why? Who are they talking to? How do they in any way fit into the movie? Don’t ask. Just gape and say “how timely! How true to real life!”

What Oscar could this be in the running for? Not script (cliched sentiments, bad jokes and phony dialogue) or directing. Certainly not acting for who’d get a nod? The either lifeless or high school drama class acting of Anna Kendrick? (her crying scene is laughable in the way of: ‘did the director tell her to mimick Lucille Ball?) Or is it the nothingness of Vera Farminga (whose character is as empty as Clooney’s apartment)? Or is it Clooney doing…..Clooney? (And what else would he do? He shows up on set, flings the charm and goes home. Which is not a bad thing per se. I’m just saying charisma does not good acting make. Notable exceptions include Jack and Tom.)

Somebody said that this is one of the most depressing movies of the year. I wish I could give it that compliment. If it really dwelled in hard places and took a tough stance or any stance at all, that could be true. But its just boring and unmoving and uninspired. Insipid? Maybe. A waste of time? Yes.

Of note: The movie was exacting laughter from the theatre–only the laughter came exclusively from the middle aged set. The younger people I saw in the audience were absolutely listless. Is this the mid-life white folk who love “According To Jim” and Jay Leno? Most likely. And that means this movie will garner some Oscars.

Final Word: A paint by numbers movie unsure of what its doing with unlikeable characters who make no changes with a ‘climax’ consisting of a “Grey’s Anatomy” bad episode scene and hokey jokes. Oh and George Clooney is sexy.

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