No matter what you thought of Juno, there’s no arguing that Jason Bateman was among the film’s great strengths. Jason Reitman made perfect use of his deadpan straight man tendencies, turning him into a pathetic, sorta-but-not-quite creepy guy who hasn’t quite grown into his marriage.
Because Up in the Air, Reitman’s adaptation of Walter Kirn’s novel, is built along the same lines as Thank You For Smoking — that is, a bunch of snappy interactions satirizing corporate culture — there’s plenty reason to be happy that Bateman has been cast alongside George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick.
Bateman is boss to Clooney, a consultant who specializes in firing folks. When a new co-worker’s (Kendrick) internet innovations threaten to make his in-person tactics obsolete, Clooney talks Bateman into giving him one last chance. Bateman won’t be in the film much, but he should have a couple of sharp scenes with Clooney, which is enough to make me happy.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey