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"UP IN THE AIR"
(2009) (George Clooney, Anna Kendrick) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Minor Heavy None Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None Moderate Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Mild Heavy Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A man hired by other companies to fire their employees shows his young coworker the ropes of the business, all while carrying on a casual fling with a fellow traveler and coming to realize that his non-committal lifestyle might not be as ideal as he believes.
PLOT:
Ryan Bingham (GEORGE CLOONEY) is a man who's hired by other companies to fire their employees when he's not delivering motivational presentations about the pitfalls of being weighed down by literal and metaphorical distractions. He's quite good at what he does, and actually seems to enjoy being on the road for nearly the entire year. That's especially true since that gives him all sorts of perks that will only increase now that he's soon going to join an elite and small group of people who've racked up ten million frequent flier miles.

A committed bachelor who views airports, planes and hotels as his "home" and hasn't kept in touch with his sisters, Kara (AMY MORTON) and Julie (MELANIE LYNSKEY), he also likes being able to hook up with fellow work travelers such as Alex Goran (VERA FARMIGA) who, like him, isn't looking for anything more than a good time at a nice hotel when their paths cross somewhere across the country.

Accordingly, he isn't pleased when young upstart Natalie Keener (ANNA KENDRICK) convinces their boss, Craig Gregory (JASON BATEMAN), that their company could be more efficient and cost-effective if they'd fire others' employees virtually rather than in person. Realizing his lifestyle and accumulation of travel miles is now at risk, Ryan proves that such termination requires a direct, personal touch. But that backfires on him when Craig orders that Ryan have Natalie accompany him across the country to learn how that's done in person.

As Ryan begrudgingly shows her the ropes, he also finds his belief system challenged, not only by Julie's pending marriage to Jim Miller (DANNY McBRIDE), but also due to the fact that he's starting to fall for Alex.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of anyone in the cast or the director of "Juno" and "Thank You For Smoking," it doesn't seem too likely many will be interested in this.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some sexual content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GEORGE CLOONEY plays a man who's hired by companies to fire their employees, and occasionally works as an occasional motivational speaker. He's quite good at what he does, and enjoys traveling far more than staying home, the latter of which he does very little. He doesn't want any sort of commitment, but ends up falling for Alex (a woman) after a series of casual flings with her. Essentially estranged from his sisters, he ends up dragged back into their lives by one's wedding, all while traveling around the country showing Natalie the ropes of the firing business, even when she represents the likely end to his travels. He uses strong profanity and drinks.
  • VERA FARMIGA plays a woman who similarly travels all of the time, ends up bumping into Ryan and then has a series of casual flings with him, similarly wanting nothing more. She uses profanity and drinks.
  • ANNA KENDRICK plays a new employee working for Craig who comes up with a way to do their business virtually rather than in person, but doesn't realize her idea isn't perfect until she's forced to travel around the country with Ryan to see how it's done in person. She uses profanity and drinks.
  • JASON BATEMAN plays Ryan and Natalie's boss who likes her idea about saving money by firing people virtually rather than in person, but orders her to accompany Ryan around the country to learn how the business is done firsthand and apply that to her idea.
  • DANNY McBRIDE plays Ryan's future brother-in-law who gets cold feet on his wedding day. He drinks some.
  • MELANIE LYNSKEY plays Ryan's sister who he barely knows as an adult and is about to get married.
  • AMY MORTON plays their other sibling, a married woman who's currently separated from her husband, isn't pleased that Ryan basically disappeared from her and Julie's lives, and uses some strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated dramedy. Profanity consists of at least 21 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue and innuendo are present, off-screen sex occurs, and brief/partial post-sex nudity (a woman's bare butt and side of breast) is present.

    Characters drink in various scenes, and bad attitudes are present, as is tense family material and various thematic elements. Some potentially imitative behavior is also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there are some brief strobe effects at a reception dance.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are some aerial shots looking down on various cities and other land at the beginning of the film, as well as a POV shot of an airplane landing. There's also some camera movement from time to time, but nothing terribly shaky.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Ryan has a drink in a hotel.
  • Ryan and Alex have drinks.
  • Seeing that Natalie is upset, Alex asks if they and Ryan should get a drink, with Natalie replying, "Now you're talking." We then see all of them with drinks.
  • Ryan, Alex and Natalie drink at a reception they've crashed, while others there also drink. We later see miscellaneous drinking still occurring there.
  • Ryan and Jim have drinks.
  • Julie's friend asks if she wants some Xanax to help her sleep, but Ryan says that's not what it's for.
  • People have champagne at a wedding reception, while the groomsmen are seen with flasks.
  • We see mini bottles of liquor in Ryan's fridge, and then later see him holding a drink.
  • Ryan has a drink.
  • Ryan is given a glass of champagne on a plane.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Craig comments on taking his first "crap" in several weeks.
  • Stereotyping men, Natalie comments to Ryan about them getting a "hard-on" about putting their names on things and their need to pee on everything.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Various unseen companies hire Ryan and his firm to fire their employees rather than do so themselves. Natalie then comes up with the idea to fire such people virtually rather than in person (as a cost-cutting move).
  • Some viewers might not like a joke on the part of the film where a flight attendant asks Ryan, "Would you like the can, sir?" but he initially thinks she's asking, "Would you like the cancer?"
  • When Craig tells Ryan to show Natalie the ropes about firing people in person, he isn't happy and states, "I'm not a f*cking tour guide."
  • Ryan informs Natalie about which security line to go through at the airport, noting the best is behind Asians, with various stereotypical reasons, while he also says she should avoid those who are going to get profiled as well as old people who are littered with metal implants and have no concept about how limited their time left is. When Natalie says the Asian comment is racist, Ryan replies that like his mother he stereotypes as it's faster.
  • Ryan, Alex and Natalie crash a reception without invites, taking and putting on name tags of people they don't know.
  • Alex uses a card to jimmy a lock on a window to enter Ryan's old high school so they can look around.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Ryan learns that Alex is married with kids. She later tells him that they agreed things would be casual, adds that he was an escape and then changes that to him being a parenthesis in her life.
  • Ryan lies about not having any previous inkling about a woman he fired being suicidal.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see a quick fantasy montage of a person in the angry aftermath of being fired, including loading a rifle (played for comedy).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "Who the f*ck are you?" "Who the f*ck am I?" "That is pretty f*cking sexy," "My f*cking line," "I'm not a f*cking tour guide," "Go f*ck yourself," "F*cked in the ass," "Oh f*ck," "What the f*ck /is this/are you doing?" "What kind of f*cked-up message is that?" "I'm such a f*ck-up," "F*cking nice," "People do crazy sh*t," "Major Tony Robbins sh*t," "A fleet of sh*t-boxes," "Place is a sh*t-hole," "Bullsh*t," "I know you don't give a sh*t," "Balls" (testicles), "I'm not some waitress you bang in a snow storm," "Think of me as you think of yourself, only with a vagina," "Because they screw lingerie models?" "Hard-on" (erection), "You should rub one out" (masturbate), "Make him feel like a whore," "Nut up," "Some yo-yo like you," "Do you want the can, sir?" (with that last part sounding like "cancer"), "Blows," "Show some hubris," "Glocal," "Who the hell are you?" "A hell of a way..." "I'm like my mother, I stereotype-it's faster," "Hey asshole," "Screw you (too)," "Let's stop screwing around," "Got my ass kicked," "A pain in the ass" and "Pissed."
  • We see a quick fantasy montage of a person in the angry aftermath of being fired, including putting something toxic/poisonous in the company coffee, etc. (played for comedy).
  • Ryan, Alex and Natalie crash a reception without invites, taking and putting on name tags of people they don't know.
  • Alex uses a card to jimmy a lock on a window to enter Ryan's old high school so they can look around.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • The Young MC song "Bust a Move" has the lyric "Wish you could sex her."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 21 "f" words (1 used sexually as are the terms "bang" and "screw"), 9 "s" words, 3 slang terms using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 1 using female ones ("p*ssies"), 5 asses (2 used with "hole"), 2 hells, 1 crap, 3 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "God," "Jesus" and "Oh Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Comparing travel perks and issues, Alex asks Ryan about his frequent flier mileage quest, but he won't give the exact number. She then suggestively states she bets it's huge, he replies she has no idea, and she then asks how big while spreading her hands further and further apart. She then tells him that such talk is "pretty f*cking sexy." They then talk about but don't mention by name the "mile high club" (having sex on planes), with Ryan first talking about that, followed by her stating she's done that on a domestic day flight. He wonders how (meaning the timing without anyone else noticing), and she playfully replies that she's really flexible.
  • We next see them post sex, with Alex walking back into the room with views of her bare butt and side of her bare breast as she lies down on the bed, while Ryan is shirtless on the floor next to the bed. They chat about their encounter, including her commenting on liking how he (what sounded like) "burrito-ed" her in the sofa cushions.
  • We briefly see a miscellaneous couple passionately kiss upon meeting each other.
  • About their casual fling, Alex tells Ryan that she isn't some waitress you "bang" in a snowstorm, and then tells him, "Think of me as you think of yourself, only with a vagina."
  • Ryan asks a just fired employee why kids look up to athletes, followed by the man sarcastically replying, "Because they screw lingerie models."
  • Stereotyping men, Natalie comments to Ryan about them getting a "hard-on" about putting their names on things and their need to pee on everything.
  • While texting each other from different locations, Alex tells Ryan he should "rub one out" (masturbate). He then jokes only if she does as well, and she replies that she's way ahead of him. He then tells her to call him next time so that he can listen.
  • An upset and just fired employee says he was the thing keeping the company from being "f*cked in the ass."
  • Ryan and Alex meet for sex, but we don't see anything.
  • After hearing Alex describe her wants out of a man, Natalie jokes she (Alex) should just date women. Alex replies she tried that, but adds that they're no picnic either.
  • We see miscellaneous cleavage.
  • The Young MC song "Bust a Move" has the lyric "Wish you could sex her."
  • We briefly see a clothed couple making out while lying down side by side at a reception.
  • Ryan and Alex briefly but passionately kiss on a yacht. Later, she shows some cleavage and jokingly states (about another comment) that she made him feel cheap, with him joking she can just leave the money on the stand (he's shirtless in bed).
  • Ryan asks Natalie (about a guy she was with at a reception the night before) if she woke him up or slipped out and made him feel like a "whore."
  • Alex shows some cleavage, as does Julie.
  • While looking around Ryan's old school, Alex playfully asks if he ever fooled around with any of his teachers. He says no, and then asks her, and she replies not until she was in college.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Ryan isn't happy to get a call from his sister Kara.
  • We hear that Kara is in a trial separation from her husband.
  • We learn that Ryan barely knows his sisters as adults.
  • Jim gets cold feet on his wedding day after visualizing a stereotypical future and wondering what the point of that would be.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The reasons why companies fire people and how they go about doing that.
  • The comment that moving is living, and that people weigh themselves down too much.
  • A just-fired employee states she's going to jump off a bridge. We later hear that she did just that to commit suicide.
  • The comment that relationships are the heaviest component of one's life and that people shouldn't carry all of that weight.
  • The comment that the slower we move, the faster we die.
  • Ryan having no desire to get married or have kids.
  • The differences in what people look for in a mate as they get older.
  • Alex compares her different wants in a mate (as compared to Natalie) including that the man make more money, adding that otherwise spells trouble down the line.
  • We learn that Ryan barely knows his sisters as adults.
  • Jim gets cold feet on his wedding day after visualizing a stereotypical future and wondering what the point of that would be.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a quick fantasy montage of a person in the angry aftermath of being fired, including swiping stuff of a desk (played for comedy).



  • Reviewed October 29, 2009 / Posted December 4, 2009

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