Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Up in the Air DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Mile-High Sitcom Starring George Clooney Released on DVD

Although he euphemistically refers to himself as a career transition counselor, what Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) actually does for a living is fire people for companies that don’t have the guts to terminate employees. In this capacity, the heartless hatchet man finds himself on the road, or should I say “Up in the Air” over 300 days a year, crisscrossing the country on assignments as dictated by his boss, Craig (Jason Bateman), from back in corporate headquarters.
All the incessant travel is to rudderless Ryan’s liking, since the confirmed bachelor feels more at home in hotels and on planes than in the tiny apartment in Omaha he very rarely uses. Furthermore, he puts little stock in worldly possessions beyond an obsession with racking up frequent-flyer miles in order to enjoy the conveniences which flow from upgrades in car rentals, credit cards, and first-class accommodations.
Everything changes for Ryan the day he trades pleasantries with Alex (Vera Farmiga), a kindred spirit he encounters in an airport lounge. For, as it turns out, the striking businesswoman is ostensibly also a peripatetic loner living out of suitcases and equally-fixated on accumulating travel perks. Their ensuing, alcohol-fueled flirtation leads to an impulsive one-night stand and other passionate rendezvous whenever their hectic itineraries intersect.
Their star-crossed romance rests at the heart of Up in the Air, a six-time Oscar-nominated flick directed by Jason Reitman. The plot thickens when a third wheel arrives onscreen in the person of Natalie (Anna Kendrick), a colleague of Ryan’s who comes up with the bright idea of firing folks virtually via Skype instead of in person. If her idea is adopted by their boss, it will put an abrupt end not only to Ryan’s field trips but to his steamy romance with Alex.
A 21st Century take on downsizing and dating in this no-strings attached age of outsourcing and friends with benefits.

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity and sexuality.
Running time: 109 minutes
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, filmmakers’ commentary and more.

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