Up in the Air

Rated 4.0

Writer-director Jason Reitman’s new film has a marvelous premise. It says: Imagine getting fired—and not directly by your boss, but by George Clooney on behalf of your boss. This ambitious, unnervingly timely adaptation of Walter Kirn’s novel has found exactly the right actor to embody its peregrine protagonist. And in order to transplant him into a film and into today’s economy, Reitman, who shares screenwriting credit with Sheldon Turner, has concocted a rich array of supporting characters and cast them perfectly, too—with Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, among others. Clooney’s stylish aloofness sets the movie’s fundamental tone, but it’s his chemistry with these women that gives it a harmonic foundation. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best, most topical movie about a frequent-flying, existentially challenged corporate hatchet man of the year.