Although I can understand why many people find Up in the Air just a little too satisfied with itself - an accusation that can also be leveled at Jason Reitman's previous outing, Juno - I'm more intrigued by the aspects of the film that strike a chord with audiences, perhaps especially because we saw it in a packed local theatre more than three months after it was first released.
As much as George Clooney's character, Ryan Bingham, is an exaggeration, with his extraordinarily peripatetic existence and his strange, apparently pointless quest for ten million airmiles, his life takes place in the kinds of spaces and locations that the rest of us are familiar with. The film is filled with anonymous offices, interchangeable airports, overcrowded planes and generic motels - but also, on the more positive side, with the kinds of family gatherings more familiar to many viewers than those in majority of Hollywood features, with their glittering tablecloths and vastly overdone weddings.
The film's also surprising successful, in certain scenes, at capturing the reality of mundane office employment - employment which may nonetheless be tremendously important, both financially and psychologically, to the employee. The film doesn't really spring any narrative surprises (the characters experience adversity and epiphany on cue) but the fact that it manages to anchor that narrative in a world not unlike the one in which we live the rest of our lives - burnished with better lines and good-looking actors - perhaps explains why an April crowd was on tap for a December movie.