Up In The Air

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -4

George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Anna Kendrick. Written & directed by Jason Reitman.

FILM SYNOPSIS: From Jason Reitman, the Oscar® nominated director of Juno, comes a comedy called Up in the Air starring Oscar® winner George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate hatchet man who loves his life on the road but is forced to fight for his job when his company downsizes its travel budget. He is required to spend more time at home just as he is on the cusp of a goal he's worked toward for years – reaching five million frequent flyer miles – and just after he's met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Witty, thoughtful and well acted, this one will make the Best Of lists for many critics. Except for the offensive content, I enjoyed it as well. Perhaps “enjoyed” is not the right word. Let’s say, I appreciated it. What’s more, I think Mr. Clooney deserves Oscar consideration. Too often we look upon him as just handsome and glib. But he’s more than just a kickback to the days of real movie stars like Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. He’s also a very good actor (so were those two). Like Paul Newman did, Clooney makes it look so easy you are unaware of the work going on. Here, he’s on top of his game.

Now, what I just wrote about George Clooney proves that I am a true liberal (in the correct sense of the word), for when assessing his abilities, I open-mindedly put aside the actor’s leftist political leanings and his frequent abuse of God’s name in nearly each of his films. I am able to credit him for his strengths despite the fact that I disagree, strongly, with his public political pontifications and the fact that he could care less that profaning God’s name and Christ’s is offensive to a large portion of the population.

The movie poignantly comments on the white collar unemployment situation facing America. But it goes further than depicting the letting go of people who haven’t undergone unemployment in quite some time. By depicting hatchet men (and women) as coldhearted, the film is in reality exposing an insidious infection that causes us to be oblivious to others. Despite cell phones, and iPods and computers and On-Star and two hundred cable stations, it seems people are more disconnected than ever. People focus on a communication device while they drive, while they shop, while they potty, as if multitasking somehow gives them importance. What it really does is shut themselves off from those who pass by. Like pod people, they seem desensitized, oblivious to anyone outside their Facebook. This film shows how easy it is to shut yourself off from the world around you. Fortunately, it also sends the message that such narcissism takes its toll. And sooner or later, we wake up and realize that the fine-tuning of our own little world is not all there is to life.

Be aware that should you attend, there is material you will no doubt find inappropriate, such as the fact that nearly every character portrayed feels right at home with the f-word. To the lead, the name Jesus evidently means no more than an expletive for relieving frustration. And the three lead characters have no moral objection to a sexual encounter with someone they have just met.

Also, if you are depressed over being alone and unemployed, and closer to sixty than to fifty, I’m not sure you’ll find this one uplifting. I am a freelance writer who lost his three biggest accounts this past year, not because my bosses were dissatisfied with my efforts, but because of the need for financial cutbacks. I was expendable. So, when I warn that this film may be depressing, I know whereof I speak. (God will provide, but the film’s impact did make for an unpleasant sleeping experience that night.) You’ve been warned.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
DreamWorks Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A few crude sexual references.

Obscene Language: Around thirty obscenities, mostly the f-word, spoken by most characters.

Profanity: Three misuses of Christ’s name and the expression “oh my god” is uttered three or four times.

Violence: After hearing of his job loss, a man reacts violently, but there is no hitting.

Sex: Casual sex between people who have just met; adultery.

Nudity: Backside female nudity.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several sexual discussions, some in graphic detail.

Drugs: Lots of drinking, mainly showing the leads dealing with the stress of their jobs, aided by alcohol consumption.

Other: None

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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