CATEGORIES Reviews
Jason Reitman's third outing -- after 'Thank You for Smoking' and 'Juno' -- has been generating great buzz, great reviews and, on Thursday, picked up the National Board of Review's best film of the year nod.

George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a high-flying executive who makes his living traveling from city to city, company to company, firing employees for other executives who either can't do it themselves or need a more professional hand in terminating their help. He's a member of every elite travel loyalty program in existence and is closing in on his lifetime goal: 10 million frequent flier miles. But all that changes when faced with two new obstacles: a relationship with a simpatico fellow traveler (Vera Farmiga) and a scheme by his bosses to outsource firing through the Internet.

Read what the critics have to say. Jason Reitman's third outing -- after 'Thank You for Smoking' and 'Juno' -- has been generating great buzz, great reviews and, on Thursday, picked up the National Board of Review's best film of the year nod.

George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a high-flying executive who makes his living traveling from city to city, company to company, firing employees for other executives who either can't do it themselves or need a more professional hand in terminating their help. He's a member of every elite travel loyalty program in existence and is closing in on his lifetime goal: 10 million frequent flier miles. But all that changes when faced with two new obstacles: a relationship with a simpatico fellow traveler (Vera Farmiga) and a scheme by his bosses to outsource firing through the Internet.

Read what the critics have to say.

Village Voice:
"'Up in the Air' goes down like a sedative. This is a movie that's easy to like-and to dislike as well. Less adapted from than inspired by Walter Kirn's 2001 novel, Jason Reitman's third feature is a glibly serious comedy about a professional terminator. George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, corporate road warrior and hired gun, living out of a stowable wheeled suitcase and flying first-class city to city, or rather company to company, discharging redundant workers. It's a job and the joke is, he loves it. 'Up in the Air' is the most topical Hollywood release of the season, a far more scarifying disaster film than '2012' or 'The Road.'"

Entertainment Weekly:
"Here are a few of the kinds of movies that I wish Hollywood made more often (like, you know, two or three times a year): a drama that connects to an audience because it taps, in a bold and immediate way, into the fears and anxieties of our time; a romantic comedy in which the dialogue pings with stylish wit and verve; a film that keeps surprising us because its characters keep surprising themselves. The beauty of 'Up in the Air' is that it's all those things at once. Adapted from Walter Kirn's 2001 novel, it's a rare and sparkling gem of a movie, directed by Jason Reitman ('Jun'o') with the polish of a master."

The Hollywood Reporter
:
"Cynicism and sentiment have melded magically in movies by some of the best American directors, from Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder to Alexander Payne. Jason Reitman mined the same territory in "Thank You for Smoking" and his smash hit, "Juno," and it's pleasing to report that he's taken another rewarding journey down this prickly path in his eagerly awaited new film, "Up in the Air." Boasting one of George Clooney's strongest performances, the film seems like a surefire awards contender, and the buzz will attract a sizable audience, even though some viewers might be startled by the uncompromising finale."

Variety:
"The tale of an aloof, high-flying exec whose millions of frequent-flyer miles can't keep him permanently above the emotional turbulence he seeks to avoid, "Up in the Air" is a slickly engaging piece of lightweight existentialism highlighted by winning turns from George Clooney and Vera Farmiga. Just as 'Thank You for Smoking' and 'Juno' did in their own ways, Jason Reitman's third film cleverly taps into specific cultural aspects of the contemporary zeitgeist, although in a somewhat less comically convulsive manner. Unlike many of the characters onscreen, nobody is going to lose any jobs on the basis of their work here, as a buoyant commercial flight lies ahead."

'Up in the Air' trailer

Screen International:
"A smart and poignant romantic comedy, 'Up in the Air' has a lot on its mind, and although the film doesn't perfectly execute all of its ambitions, it's one of those rare mainstream Hollywood pictures that addresses contemporary issues gracefully. Anchored by a strong performance from George Clooney, director Jason Reitman's most mature film balances laughs and pathos with its story of downsized workers and love's redemptive power.' Up in the Air' represents a merging of the best qualities of Reitman's previous two films, combining the skewed look at the modern workplace of 'Thank You For Smoking' and the sentimental romance of 'Juno.' But at the same time, this new film is a sizable artistic progression for the young director, doing away with 'Thank You's' glib cynicism and 'Juno's' gimmicky hipness."

Toronto Star:
"Clooney has never seemed more vulnerable or more in tune with a role. He's not just playing Bingham, whose first-class lifestyle he enjoys in real life. Clooney is using the character to understand his own reality as a man struggling to find meaning in a world that sees him mainly as a matinee idol. 'Up in the Air' has many amusing moments -- Clooney has never been funnier, either -- yet this is more drama than comedy. It speaks to the essential hollowness at the core of North American culture, where a person's worth is measured in cold financial terms and where guys like Bingham can prosper by sliding in and out of lives just long enough to ruin them."

Associated Press:
"For two-thirds of the journey, 'Up in the Air' flies even straighter and truer than director Reitman's 2007 teen-pregnancy hit, 'Juno,' delivering snappy screwball dialogue with deep touches of pathos. The film strays off course in the final act, though, veering from an insightful portrait of willful disconnection in our age of portability and turning kind of mushy, kind of vague, kind of conventional. People change, lessons are learned, but the movie ends up landing on familiar turf rather than the bold, exotic location where it seemed bound early on."

Roger Ebert:
"This isn't a comedy. If it were, it would be hard to laugh in these last days of 2009. Nor is it a tragedy. It's an observant look at how a man does a job. Too many movie characters have jobs involving ruling people, killing them, or going to high school. Bingham loves his work. He doesn't want a home. He doesn't want a family. He gives self-help lectures on how and why to unpack the backpack of your life."