After breaking out two years ago with the teen pregnancy comedy Juno writer-director Jason Reitman trains his keen acerbic eye on the modern business traveler in Up in the Air a bittersweet comedy about one man’s turbulent journey of self-discovery and redemption.
George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham a corporate downsizer (he fires people for a living essentially) and seasoned road warrior whose aversion to real human connection is reflected in his mammoth stockpile of frequent flyer miles the fruits of a job that calls for 300-plus days spent away from the office. Thoroughly content with a life spent in hotel bars and airport lounges Ryan begins to slowly unravel when he’s tasked with mentoring Natalie (Anna Kendrick) a fresh-faced recent graduate with a bold set of ideas for transforming the business of firing people — ideas that threaten both Ryan’s untethered existence and his budding relationship with Alex (Vera Farmiga) a fellow corporate nomad whose penchant for low-effort commitment-free relationships mirrors his own.
Enchanted by visions of a perpetual booty call replete with racy Blackberry messages and romantic trysts arranged via Outlook Ryan begins to suspect he might have found his soulmate in Alex. Inconveniencing his idealized scenario however is his travel partner Natalie a probing perceptive gal who proves a far more worthy adversary than he initially anticipated. As Ryan exposes Natalie’s real-world inexperience and naivety in a series of mildly disastrous business meetings she in turn refutes his resolutely isolationist approach to love and relationships. Soon their mutual resentment gives way to a father-daughter dynamic characterized by genuine albeit guarded affection. As his carefully crafted barriers steadily erode Ryan’s thoughts increasingly turn to Alex and he begins to contemplate the previously unthinkable prospect of putting down actual roots.
Corporate downsizing emotional detachment and the dehumanizing effects of modern technology aren’t exactly the most lighthearted of topics but Up in the Air avoids wallowing in dour Death of a Salesman territory with the help of Reitman’s sharp perceptive wit and a handful of lively cameos from comic heavyweights like Danny McBride Zach Galifianakis and J.K. Simmons. In fact the whole affair makes for a surprisingly uplifting experience in a "saddest happy ending" kind of way. Though the latter half of the film is hampered by structural deficiencies and a pair of melodramatic sadly predictable twists that move the plot forward but diminish its overall impact it still qualifies as one of the top films of the year and Reitman’s best work to date. Consider Up in the Air a surefire Oscar contender.
Ellen DeGeneres will get the chance to defend her title as America's favorite TV personality after scooping two nominations for this year's Daytime Emmy Awards.
Last year, the comedian took home the title of Outstanding Talk Show Host, but her star-studded program The Ellen DeGeneres Show lost out for the first time in the Outstanding Talk Show/Entertainment category since its first nomination in 2004.
This time around, she'll face competition for the hosting award from Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa (Live with Regis and Kelly), TV chef Rachael Ray, and The View talk-show hosts Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and Joy Behar.
Meanwhile, DeGeneres and her show's producers will face off against Live with Regis and Kelly and Rachael Ray to take back the Best Show title.
However, veteran actress Susan Lucci has been snubbed from the list of nominees, after missing out in the Lead Dramatic Actress category in favor of All My Children co-star Debbie Morgan. Morgan will go up against Maura West (As the World Turns), Susan Haskell (One Life to Live), Susan Flannery (The Bold and the Beautiful) and Jeanne Cooper (The Young and the Restless).
In the male category, nominees for Outstanding Lead Actors in a Drama include Thorsten Kaye (All My Children), Peter Reckell (Days of Our Lives), Anthony Geary (General Hospital), Daniel Cosgrove (Guiding Light) and Christian LeBlanc (The Young and the Restless).
Supermodel-turned-talk-show host Tyra Banks will also have a chance to follow up her 2008 Daytime Emmy with another prize: The Tyra Banks Show is nominated alongside Dr. Phil and new program The Doctors in the Outstanding Talk Show/Informative category.
PBS' Sesame Street will receive the lifetime achievement award.
The 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, hosted by actress/singer Vanessa Williams, will air on Aug. 30.
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