Up in the Air

So usually once a year a movie comes out that everyone praises for being great. Critics, friends, family whatever. People insist I have to see it. But somehow I suspect I'm not gonna dig it. I catch some sort of off-scent waft and pre-judge it as something that will at best disappoint and at worst be a disaster and an uncomfortable conversation piece. Like I'll find myself sitting at a table full of people telling me how much they love the movie and then they'll ask me for my opinion and I'll be like, 'There were definitely some moments in there...' Or something vague enough not to engage. To be honest, I really don't like fighting about movies. It's like if someone liked something that I didn't like-- why should I pee on it by pointing out the flaws. Or if someone hated something that I thought was great... I'll probably dismiss the opinion because I'm always right-- so what's the point?

Anyway, this movie didn't do it for me. I thought it was a fraud, insincere, and a snoozer.

First off, can we discuss the driving force plot thing for the movie. Ok. There's this company that gets paid by other companies to send people like George Clooney to fire their staff. Because the company having the layoffs doesn't want to deal with the uncomfortableness of dealing with layoffs. So they hire this place. An HR outsource. Fine. I guess I can assume that company exists somewhere. But this 'layoff company' is now having cutbacks and they want to save on travel expenses. So now they're gonna do their hired gun firing... over webcam? Because they don't want to spend money to put some jackass up in a hotel somewhere? Not. Buying. That. At. All. I know I should be above nitpicks like this but please. Webcam firing? The company you hire to fire is too cheap to send someone... in person? Can you imagine...   Oh yeah we'll fire your staff for you... but umm... Do you guys have Skype?

But that aside, I think George Clooney was a total miscast in this movie. If they wanna yank at my heartstrings for a lonely person-- let's start by not having that person look exactly like George Clooney with full blast 'cool' to match. You wanna get me sad-- make it someone like John Candy in Planes, Trains. Someone who is doing that job because they have nothing else at all. No friends. No family. Nothing. You wanna get me down? Let's go baby! Bring it! Let's go downtown to Chinatown! I'm game! But in this flick Clooney is his situation by choice. He has a loving family. He is a personable guy who can have friends. But instead he decides to fly around on business and creep in hotel bars so he can bang random business chicks. I'm supposed to feel bad because he's unavailable and apparently somewhat comfortable being that way? Yes, I do realize there's an undertone of deep sadness and yes, I get that it's all supposed to be lighthearted-- but in a real sense it simply wasn't sad enough!

That aside, I also found the scenes of people being laid-off as weirdly exploitive. As if they were somehow showcased in some sort of layoff zoo or something. Like Joe Hollywood behind this movie used these heartbreaking situations as a drive by photo-op. Smiling for the camera like some sort of do-gooder before speeding off in his Lotus. FU millionaire, bitch. Yah, I heard rumors that they were 'real' people in the movie talking about being fired. Great. How much did you pay them to be in the movie and tell their story? $500? While the 'stars' throw another million on the pile...

As this movie played out I admit I wasn't hating every minute of it. It wasn't bad to watch. There are moments. But I just felt like I was seeing straight through it the whole time. Straight through to the back wall-- which at times was more entertaining. Yadda. Cute young girl with romatic problems. That's new. George Clooney overhearing being called 'old'. Ouch! Equal opportunity swipes! Rowl! The pseudo-deep dialogue of some hot corporate woman being depressingly honest. Yawn. Speaking of which, I found the Clooney love interest to be flat generic as an actress and her flip character was (in the end) over the top. I mean, that plot twist in there (which did catch me off guard) seemed out of character for someone willing to go to a friggin family wedding  as a date. That's not a sexy adult game being played. That's bumping up on multiple personality disorder. As for the cute corporate chick, I'm supposed to believe that she-- with zero experience-- somehow convinces the owner of this 'layoff company' that firing over Skype is the way to go for the future?! She must of been some enthusiastic wangbobber to convince him to flip that friggin switch.

Sorry to be the spoilsport who is ripping into what should be a perfectly decent rainyday movie--- but the only thing I bought about this movie was the ticket. And to be honest, I didn't even buy that...

Three Good Things About this Movie

- As much as I was disliking it-- I did want to see where it went.
- Clooney is always sort of interesting to watch-- (I thought he was great in Clayton)
- I thought the opening credits were kind of cool sorta.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- Any broader message seemed sugar coated and slickened.
- Couldn't Clooney falling off the dock been left on the cutting room floor? C'mon... Hardy har.
- I felt like it was mocking everyone or something.

Anyway, put this on the shelf with Banjamin Button, Igby Goes Down, Thank You for Smoking, Finding Neverland, Laurel Canyon, Syriana etc...etc... and then throw that shelf in the dumpster. Because flicks like this are secretly totally disposable. I see it! It hides but I see! And it can't hide behind the stars! It can't hide behind the soundtrack! It can't hide in planes and fancy hotels! It can't hide behind familiar noises! I see it! And I see the next one too! There's always one in the works. Some dramedy involving journalists at a failing newspaper or something. I see you. Hiding back there in some studio kitchen. Crouched and purring. Waiting to pounce on me with your declawed paws, soulful honest eyes and a simple life message tied to your collar...Bleh.  I'm apparently allergic.