Up in the Air – 5.5

There’s a scene where the party boat runs out of gas, the lights go off, and the guests enter the hotel, having waded ashore. It’s sort of cute, but what’s it got to do with the movie? It advances neither the plot nor the characters. A good editor would have cut it out, except that without such scenes, little would be left. Cute bits here and there, separated by much longeur, was the essence of this magic-less movie. Pleasant enough to watch, thanks to its two female stars, the film ultimately left a sour aftertaste, with George Clooney’s trademark insouciance jarring horribly with the plights of the real-world workers he was assigned to fire. The concept of outsourcing layoffs fell just as flat as Ryan Bingham’s “backpack” speech. Even the opening credits were the clunkiest I’ve seen this year.

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