Just the job for Clooney
Funny and enjoyable, Up in the Air takes you on a journey which will most people will be keen to take twice.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a corporate downsizer - his job is to travel around the country to fire people for spineless bosses. He loves being on the road - or, rather, in the air - but then his ambitious colleague Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) suggests costs can be cut by firing people via webcam.
The smart, breezy and sophisticated role is perfect for Clooney. Although the speech about backpacks he makes several times starts to wear thin, his performance and even the off-screen voiceovers, are superb.
Later in the film, we see a different George Clooney: a pensive, somewhat sullen, character. It shows his more emotional side, and the subtle capacity Clooney has to play all sorts of roles with panache.
All in all, it is a light, witty film that will appeal to most people who enjoy a simple yet fresh story with sparkling dialogue and excellent acting.
Director Jason Reitman, who made Thank You for Smoking and Juno, proves he doesn't need mesmerising visuals to help tell his story. Rather, he's a skilled storyteller with a gift for entertaining.
He joined forces with Sheldon Turner to write the script and won the Bafta for best adapted screenplay. It will be a huge surprise if the film doesn't win Oscars, at least in that category.