For all of his goofy roles and even goofier off-screen behavior, George Clooney is earning both respect and accolades for his current turn as corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham in “Up in the Air,” now in theaters.
“When George Clooney is at the peak of his physical attractiveness, technical chops and instinctive ease before the camera, he operates not just as an actor but also as a finely machined screen object,” opined Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post. (Read her full review here).
Ms. Hornaday really praised this movie, exclaiming that “‘Up in the Air’ is a timeless movie that’s utterly of its time — a movie of humor, heart and mind.” And while I may not have been quite that enthralled, I did very much enjoy its exploration of a man who has found success according a formula that is called into question by just about everyone around him throughout the movie.
Clooney’s Bingham is comfortable at a frenetic pace, hydroplaning through life and skipping the harder parts of what most people would call relationships. In that, I see him as more of an everyman than most business jocks would want to admit they’ve become.

The threats to his way of operating (by younger members of his profession) are actually threats to his way of life and his way of relating to people. In this way, Director Jason Reitman has achieved one of the more relevant conversations of our time between the Baby Boomer generation and the Gen Xers and Gen Yers that are following.
Any family that’s having a hard time understanding dad or communicating with the young professionals will not only laugh at this film but also learn from it. Any sandwich generation viewer may be challenged more than you’d expect from a comedy.
And if you can separate the Clooney of “Up in the Air” from the Clooney of “Men Who Stare at Goats” and “Burn After Reading,” you’ll get more from it than just the laughs aplenty. You may even be inspired by this non-preachy look at not only what’s wrong with our finance-driven culture, but the people who lead and live in it. Such as ourselves.

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