I never saw this during Oscar season; instead I wrote it off as George Clooney’s standard yearly Academy submission, never to reach the epic proportions of “Syriana.” I guess, by those expectations, it didn’t. But Jason Reitman is a genius, and he casts awesome people, so it was actually pretty awesome. Depressing but awesome.
There’s no way not to love George Clooney, unless you’re a Republican who despises ugly people I guess. He is beautiful, talented, involved, humble, all of the things you really wish for in a celebrity. For all of those esteemed reasons, it’s incredibly difficult for me to picture him as an everyman, which he was as Nick Bingham in this movie, or that one character he played in the Coen brothers film where Brad Pitt had an awesome hairdo and WHAT WAS THE NAME OF IT OH YES Burn After Reading. He’s just too damn good looking to be stuck in middle America. But that aside, this story is incredibly interesting, whimsically told, and impeccably cast. You’ve got the Reitman faves — Jason Bateman as the asshole boss (he trades off with Will Arnett, I assume) and JK Simmons as an apathetic older dude — as well as the newcomers, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. I love them both. Why Farmiga’s character Alex would blow off a Babe like Clooney’s Nick is beyond me, but I digress. It really puts you in the shoes of someone who is homeless in a way you’d never think to define “homeless.” Nick is a guy who’s hired to travel everywhere to fire people. People like that EXIST and, presumably, they lead sad lives. And people without that occupation lead sad lives, too. It’s basically one big sad world out there, filled with redundancies and nuances and idiosyncrasies, and Reitman does the best job of making those things seem beautiful and meaningful without being preachy.
So there you have it. Clooney gets (spoiler alert) dumped and almost duped, Kendrick gets a new career (on and off screen fancy that) and Farmiga gets to make out with Clooney and return to her normal life. And Bateman gets his name in an Oscar-nominated film. Oh, and I totally spotted Tamala Jones in there, who is kind of my new BFF, which you may or may not have found out if you follow me on Twitter. Yes.