Well, "the best movie of 2009" finally came to my town, so of course I had to check it out. I know I'm a bit late to the game, but I usually am when it comes to the big Oscar-type films. Up in the Air is Jason Reitman's follow up to the Oscar-winning Juno. And it's a whole different type of film. The movie follows Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a man who goes around the country to fire people for a living. He's a bit of a loner and feels more at home at an airport than he does at his own home. He doesn't like having relationships tie him down, either, so when he meets a flighty (no pun intended) woman named Alex (Vera Farmiga) who is just as elitist as he is, he is enthralled. So it doesn't sit well with him when he's threatened with being grounded by his boss (Jason Bateman), who, in order to save money, is taking a more technological approach to the process as invented by a young up-and-comer named Natalie (Anna Kendrick). But she's too naive and doesn't know the ropes, so Ryan is forced to take Natalie around the country to show her what it really takes to fire people.

While I don't think it was the best film of 2009, I still think it was up there (again... no pun intended). Though it was really distracting that, while watching the movie, I'm staring at Anna Kendrick going "where the hell have I seen you before?" And after I get home, I had to imdb it... and it was very much to my surprise that she's one of Bella's friend in the Twilight movies. I just have to say this... I'm not sure if she has a good or bad agent... because she went from the bottom tier of films right to the top without any transition in between. But it also adds more proof to my theory that the female actresses of the Twilight films can actually act, whether or not they show the ability in those films.

Anyway, on to the movie. Personally, I thought the first act (before Natalie is introduced) was a bit too slow, and it actually reminded me somewhat of the non-killer parts of American Psycho. Just the conversations between Ryan and Alex about their elite statuses and the types of cards they carry really took me back. The second act (the part where Ryan and Natalie travel the nation) is the best part of the movie. It kept me engaged and entertained and was really fun. But then the third act came in (starting with the wedding stuff), and it felt like a completely different movie. For some reason, it just didn't meld well with me. But then it gets back to what I consider the movie... and seems to rush it. I think the closure with Natalie could have been better, like there was this elaborate setup for the events at the end that are mostly glanced over. And all three acts have three completely different tones. The first is more dry humor... the second, I suppose, is a more straight-forward humor... and the third act is mostly drama.

I know it seems like I'm panning the movie, but I'm not. I really did enjoy it quite a bit. George Clooney and Anna Kendrick were wonderful in it. Kendrick's character has a good transition from naive, ambitious, young woman right out of school to a more mature, experienced young woman. On the other hand, Clooney's Ryan goes from elitist loner to a more warm and human man. It also had some great cameos, such as Zach Galifianakis, J.K. Simmons, and Sam Elliot. It was also cool to see Danny McBride in a slightly more serious role.

The movie was stylish and fun and had some really good jokes, most of which came from Anna Kendrick's Natalie. There's really not much else to say. While I don't agree it was the best film of 2009, it was really good and I'd love to see it again.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

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