So Up in the Air just won another “Best Adapted Screenplay” award (this time from the Writers Guild of America) for condescending use of the sorrows of real people as “topical garnish on a Cary Grant movie” (credit for these well-chosen words go to my fellow Chicagoan Jim Jones).
Me, I’m personally, I’m incensed about the way Jason Reitman betrays his female characters, most especially “Alex” (Vera Farmiga). Just who is this woman supposed to be??? Obviously, finding an actress with a beauteous backside was way more important to Reitman than building a coherent back story for her.
The idea that Alex would tell her children at the very last moment that she isn’t coming home for the weekend (so she can gallivant around Wisconsin) is completely ridiculous (even if we do buy her mid-week road warrior “think of me as you only with a vagina” brio). No, this whole sequence (which is NOT in Kirn’s novel) was created because Reitman’s Ryan needs an urban queen to adorn his arm when he deigns to visit his lowly country bumpkin relations in the “heartland.”
We learn in “the big reveal” that this is a woman with secrets to protect, but how does Ryan even know where she lives? If Reitman were honest, he’d have to show Ryan going thru her wallet or something equally distasteful, but that would spoil the light, breezy “fun,” wouldn’t it?
And, oh yes: how does Alex pull not one but two sexy black dresses from her rollway when she didn’t even know about potential weekend activities when she packed??? Movie magic?!? Puh-leez!!! Am I the only person who noticed this? And yes, I’m sure because I watched the Wisconsin scenes again so I could be sure.And of course Wisconsin comes way after Ryan’s insufferable “how to pack” lecture when he dumps half of the contents of Natalie’s suitcase into a garbage bin while she just stands there with a gaping mouth. And what happens to that big, newish & relatively expensive suitcase anyway? Natalie just let him toss it?!?
I could say more about “Natalie” (not in the novel at all) as well as Ryan’s sisters (again Reitman totally distorted Kirn’s characters), but Alex is the character who really makes my blood boil.
Golden Globe Award? WGA Award? SIX Oscar nominations??? For shame!!!
Me, I nominated Up in the Air for Hall of Shame Awards posted by both the Women Film Critics Circle & the Progressive Film Critics Circle!