OPENS: Friday 12/4
An ideal bittersweet tale about life during recession, this film will strike a deep chord with audiences. Only George Clooney could get away with playing charming, heartbreaking antihero Ryan Bingham, an exec who travels the country laying off unsuspecting folks -- yet remains detached as he goes from hotel to hotel, hooking up with fellow frequent flier Alex (Vera Farmiga). When his cost-cutting boss opts for a young manager (Twilight's Anna Kendrick)'s fire-via-computer idea, Ryan is grounded -- and his life unravels. He has a first-class life in the skies, but what happens when he falls to earth? His crisis echoes that of the very people he casually axes, and Clooney achieves a quiet level of emotion that breaks new ground for him. He's a shoo-in for a best actor Oscar nomination. Equally compelling is the wry Farmiga (The Departed), who delivers a memorable speech about what a woman over 30 looks for in a man. It's just one jewel in a movie that's loaded with treasures as it builds to a moving -- and shockingly unpredictable -- climax. Sleekly directed by Juno's Jason Reitman, the sharply written and insightful tale is destined to be a classic.
-- THELMA ADAMS