Thursday, January 7, 2010

On Up In the Air

Try as I might to clear my expectations before watching a film, often times I admittedly fail miserably and my viewing experience suffers. Based solely on the director, Jason Reitman, my excitement for 'Up In the Air' was contained to say the least; while I thoroughly enjoyed 'Thank You for Smoking', my hatred for 'Juno' is far more intense. I was suprisingly able to shelf these feelings of discontent and was then left struggling to forget about the fantastic reviews this film has received. In the end, I was unable to contain myself from putting my hopes in the sky.

I don't want to delve to deeply into the plot, but the film is about a perpetual vagabond played of course by George Clooney. Rather than live the prototypical drifter life, however, he goes about his life by minimizing attachment to people places and things while maintaining a presumably lucrative white collar job that affords him the luxury of traveling First Class across the U.S. for a great majority of the year.

The plot lays a decent enough foundation for Clooney to make some magic happen, but rather than sit here and praise his performance I was lift a bit flabbergasted at how little he really had to act in order to fill what could only be described as a tailor made role. As the protagonists love interest, Vera Farmiga steals the show in terms of acting but her role is regrettably small in the grand scheme of things. I won't spoil anything, but I have no problems crushing any expectations that a reader might harbor for intriguing plot twists because they never come. Sure, there is a bit of drama throughout, but the majority of the film is a realtively trite romantic comedy that is completely uneventful.

More than anything, the tone of the film is what laid my high hopes down to rest. The overall feeling that the director crafts is so absolutely harmless and inoffensive that I am flabbergasted how viewers are able to walk out with any feeling other than mild indifference.

I'm not trying to be harsh; I actually liked the film and can think of far worse things to do with two hours of my life. Nevertheless I can't help but criticize it in the face of so much praise. In successfully making a film that no one could possibly hate, they succeeded in making a film that few could love. I don't necessarily need gripping plot twists, pertinent satire, passionate relationships, lovable/hatable characters, or probing social commentary to enjoy a film, but I do need something along those lines to enjoy a film enough to want to give it a good review.

Up In the Air is a great example of a very enjoyable, albeit stunningly mediocre, film that is unfortunately shrouded by undying praise from an endless army of critics. If you are a better person that I, and think that you can forget about the praise and view this movie in all its superficial glory, I advise you to do so. If not, don't feel bad; you're not missing out on much.

1 comment:

  1. Indifferent - that was the feeling I was looking for - spot on sir