I was eager to see this movie because it had gotten so much buzz at the Oscars. Also, director Jason Reitman's other movies Thank You For Smoking and Juno remain amongst my favourite films. The verdict? Hmm. Still up in the air.
I really enjoyed it, though. I went into it not knowing what it was really about (other than somehow involving air travel), and was pleasantly surprised to see that it falls into my preferred category of Non-Romantic Comedy, or "NonRomCom" - those quirky, indie films that could be mistakenly sold to the general public as Romantic Comedy (RomCom), but generally don't end happily and the humour is usually more sophisticated and ironic than the slapstick and mistaken identity humour of the RomComs. I'm so BORED by RomComs these days - they're so formulaic that I basically don't have to see the movie at all to predict the entire thing, and they usually put the funniest (if you can call them that) moments in the trailer.
One of the main reasons I wanted to see this movie was because two (2!) of the actresses were nominated for Best Supporting roles, and one of them was an actress my age. I've been in a sort of casting limbo these days - too old to play half the women roles out there, and too young to play the other half. I wanted to know what, exactly, Hollywood thought was appropriate for a woman in her early-late-thirties (ahem).
Vera Farmiga has done a lot of work, but is a virtual unknown to me. The character she played was multi-layered, dignified and...sexy. It gives me hope. Not sure if I would have given her an Oscar, but then, she didn't win, did she? (I suspect I would have given the win to Maggie Gyllenhaal, but I haven't had a chance to see Crazy Heart yet. ) Anna Kendrick comported herself admirably in a cast of seasoned professionals, but I don't personally think she should have gotten an Oscar nod. That seems to be a theme with Oscar nods for me this time around. Was it a slow year, or something?
George Clooney - aka McSwooney - was, well, he was George. He was charming, debonair and fairly irresistible. He was the same person that we all fell in love with in The Facts of Life. He didn't do anything to stretch his artistic talents, but he's created an empire based on his McSwooney-ness and he delivered another ration to his adoring fans. Jason Bateman, is the one to watch, though. I always thought he was just a sitcom guy. But after seeing impressive performances in Juno and Extract, he has a solid place in my personal It Guy list.
What left me feeling a bit underwhelmed was the main message of that film: basically that you can't go through life without settling down and making solid, personal connections or you will be left with nothing. Hey man, you're preaching to the choir. (But then, this film might read differently to your still single 40-something brother who thinks marriage is for the birds and spend every night in the clubs cougaring the young ladies.) Interesting, however, was the other message that cold Corporate America is sinking to all-time lows and must be stopped - or at least kept in check. That still has me mulling today.
Definitely worth a rental. You can decide for yourselves if it's worth all the hoopla.