Naturally my expectations were very high for another Jason Reitman movie, after Thank You For Smoking and especially Juno. And Clooney rarely makes a shitty movie, and for that reason I'm a little gay for him. Reitman cowrote this one too (as he did in Smoking). It totally delivered.
Imagine two opposites: A middle-aged guy who lives nowhere because of his job and isn't attached to anything or anyone, and a young barely out of college girl who moved for a boy and had her life figured out and on a schedule, only to find that it was all bullshit. Now make it some kind of twisted buddy movie almost. That's Up In The Air.
Clooney's character Ryan makes the case that physical stuff and relationships do little more than weigh you down and keep you from moving, and non-movement isn't living. His goal is to rack up 10 million airline miles. Understated meltdown occurs when he decides he wants some of that baggage after all. Meanwhile, young Natalie moved to Omaha to be with her boyfriend who "had potential," blowing off a better professional life and trying to stick to a schedule that many young women (you know who you are) try to implement. The meet someone, get married, have kids, get a corner office, etc., thing. Meltdown ensues when she realized the dude's only real potential was to advance her schedule.
So what do you take away from this? I didn't see a lot of myself in the movie, since I tend to fall somewhere between total non-commitment and the grand plan and schedule type. Granted, I did have the schedule in mind while in college, but I let it go within a year of graduating. I do, however, know a lot of people in real life who do fit into both of these camps, especially the Natalie character, especially among young women. I also believe that it's just a lesson people have to go through, because telling people that things ultimately will not work out the way you plan is pointless.
It's a great story though, and very funny. I like that outside of Clooney, and a few short scenes with Jason Bateman plus cameo appearances, the movie is mostly a bunch of unknowns. Every one of them was excellent, including the actress who played Natalie. I absolutely loved it. Go see it.