Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) has spent his professional life traveling the U.S. and is close to reaching his goal of 10 million frequent-flier miles — until he realizes what he has missed in life and meets his female frequent-flyer counterpart and the woman of his dreams.
Bingham is a corporate downsizing expert who lives his life on the road. Actually, he lives in the air 320 days a year out of a small suitcase about the size of a “backpack.” His job? Bingham’s job is to fire people from their jobs as part of Omaha, Neb.-based Career Transition Counseling, whose sole business is to help corporations downsize.
While he lives a life disassociated with those he fires, his own job is about to change when his company decides to convert from sending their specialists on the road to firing people via video teleconferencing. Enter Natalie Keener.
Keener (Anna Kendrick) is an extremely confident, and almost arrogant, young woman who developed a method of saving the company money by terminating employees at distant locations without leaving the office — threatening Bingham’s comfortable existence in a life he is used to and loves.
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Determined to show his boss, Craig Gregory (Jason Bateman), why his young co-worker’s plan to change the way the company conducts “firings” will not work and will take away from the sensitive personal approach, Bingham suggests Keener accompany him on a business trip to “show her” up.
During the trips, Keener experiences the tragedies of the people she fires and her own tragedy — being “fired” by her boyfriend.With Keener in tow, Bingham runs across Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), who is basically his female clone. Bingham and Goran trade stories, compare “gold cards” for various agencies like Hertz and the Hilton and are equally excited about finding someone who appreciates the significance of “elite status” and “preferred membership.”
Along the way, Bingham begins to have feelings for Goran and sets up meetings with her whenever their flight schedules correspond, which causes Bingham to rethink his bachelor-driven, carry-on, work-oriented lifestyle and what it would be like to have a significant person in his life.
About the only significant life Bingham has outside of work is a remote relationship with his sister. Although that relationship is marginal, he does agree to do her a favor by photographing a cutout of her and her fiancé at places he travels to.After all the time Ryan has spent “up in the air” concerning himself with the job, the fringe benefits, the gold cards and frequent-flier miles, he decides to take one last trip — to see Goran.
Does Bingham “fire” Goran? Does he get the girl? Does he reach his goal of 10 million frequent-flyer miles? I guess you will just have to see the movie. Clooney really drives this movie to be as good as it is, so if you are a Clooney fan, this is a must-see movie. And, for all you workaholics out there, you could benefit from the message of the movie.
Next week’s review: Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges. If you have seen this movie, we want to hear your comments. E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.