Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) is a consultant who hires himself out to organisations who want to fire their employees but don’t want to actually deliver the news themselves. He’s good at this work – he has long experience and he’s well practiced in dealing with the range of reactions he gets from the recipients of this hard message. He does his job by travelling allover the US, he spends 322 days a year out of town, flying (always first class) with the same airline, staying in the same hotel chain, renting the same type of car etc. He does have a home, but it is is sparse and cold as he is rarely there. The same could be said for his personal life. He lives out of a suitcase and likes it that way – it allows him to meet women wherever he goes. In one city, he meets Alex (by Vera Farmiga) who he is attracted to because she lives a similar lifestyle and puts as much kudos as he does on hotel services, frequent flyer points, bonus gifts and super corporate rates available to such business travellers. Ryan has a fairly settled life until the day his boss (by Jason Bateman) hires ambitious 23-year-old graduate Natalie (by Anna Kendrick) who wants to streamline the “firing process” and Ryan with it, which causes Ryan’s entire life to undergo major change.
This movie is clever, smart and elegantly made. George Clooney’s performance is good and he works well with Anna Kendrick. In fact, all the supporting roles are realistically played and I found I really was transported into the lives of the people where I felt their pain at being sacked. There’s real emotion in Ryan’s own life also – not only does he have to deal with the ongoing stress in his job, but he has his own life ups and downs also.
I liked this movie a lot.