"But the hermetic pleasantness of his existence is threatened when a young efficiency expert at the home office comes up with a plan to fire people remotely, using video chat." — David Carr, the NYTEven fans of the movie, attempting to make sense of the set-up, tie themselves in knots: Clooney's hermeticism is threatened by someone who wants to interact using video. The film's problem in a nutshell.
Awards seasons always sharpens resentments, I find. Films which were merely disappointing, or just plain blah, take on a wholly more threatening aura once they've been nominated for something, or even — as is the case for Up in the Air — touted as a front-runner for victory. Suddenly they seem like pompadoured false emperors, hoodwinking everyone in sight, crying out for exposure by anyone still possessed of their sanity. In any normal year I would have been happy that a film like Slumdog Millionaire existed; but to see if festooned with Oscar like it was turned it into the most undeserving, toadying phony, right before my eyes. Yet one more way in which the Oscars corrupt the experience of moviegoing.