Some movies are events. Avatar, for example — that was an event. The new Tarantino, whatever that turns out to be, will be an event. George Clooney’s new movie, in my house anyway, tends not to be much of an event.

In fact, Clooney’s latest movie was such a non-event that I honestly forgot its name while I was on my way to the cinema to see it and only just managed to remember before the automated ticket machine spat out the answer anyway. It’s called Up in the Air. I’ve written that down now. It’s committed to memory.

Expectations were even less of an issue as my viewing was as a result of just wanting to go see a movie tonight and not being too fussed about what that so happened to be. There was a possibility, no matter how small, that I could’ve been reviewing Alvin and the Chipmunks right now. But I’m not. I’ve reviewing … em … scroll up … ah! Up in the Air instead.

I’m pretty sure half of the cinema hated it. Or rather, they hated the end. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Essentially, the movie is about disconnections and distance. Well, that ticks a box for me as anyone who’s read one of my short stories will know. It’s also about airports. Check for me again. I like airports. I like the romance of an airport; of meetings and separations and, whoops-a-daisy, without really trying we’re back to disconnections and distance again. To complete the set, it’s about a guy whose work requries him to do a bit of travelling. I’ve been there. I’ve done that.

I’m massaging the last connection there. On one exceptional week, I travelled between home, Reading, Paddington, home, Belfast, Reading and back home again, but that wasn’t exactly a usual Monday to Friday. Generally, my attitude to business travel is that the first time you do it, it’s exciting and glamourous but later on — in my case, later on that same day — it becomes boring.

George Clooney’s character — Ryan Bingham — is pretty much the opposite of that. A committed bachelor, he works for a company who fire people on behalf of companies who don’t have the balls to do it themselves. It’s the recession. Business is good. So good, in fact, that Bingham spends upwards of 200 days of the year away from home, pulling his little suitcase behind him, collecting loyalty cards, sleeping in hotels and spending most of his life in the air between destinations. He loves it. Can’t get enough of it. A check-in clerk who greets him by name is his heroin.

Proceedings are dished a rather obvious side-order of irony when Natalie Kreener — a young go-getter played by Anna Kendrick — has the bright idea of doing the nasty on people via an IP connection and all the Road Warriors get called back to base to get the brief on this Brave New World. Long story short, Bingham and Kreener end up as an Odd Couple on the road while the wise-owl tries to show that face-to-face is the best way to keep this debasing process as human as possible.

By this point, I’m pretty much loving it. Jason Reitman — director of Juno — is at the helm and while the script always seems to be allowed its indulgances, it’s frequently amusing and always entertaining to listen to and he seems to get gut-bursting performances out of his cast when called upon to do so. Case in point: there are maybe twenty small cameos in the movie of people who are being made redundant and every single one of them is warm and human and sympathetic and utterly believable, providing something of a backbone through the movie to remind us of the sort of people we’re dealing with and who we would ordinarily be expected to be cheering on.

Clooney is charming as ever and maybe more flawed than we’re used to seeing. Anna Kendrick, who was utterly forgettable in Twilight, seemed more assured in a bigger supporting role. Clooney’s main love interest, though, comes from Vera Farmiga who looks really familiar but turns out to be new to me. The film stays true to its ideals here as her character is essentially a female version of Clooney. She too spends her life on the road and the two of them only meet up when their schedules put them in the same towns on the same day.

So while this is all really good and entertaining, there’s a niggle from early on that never really goes away because anyone who’s seen half-a-dozen movies in their life has a pretty good idea how this is going to pan out. Main character is on a journey; literal and figurative. A woman will make him see the error of his ways. Connection replaces disconnection. The two live happily ever after. The voice-over in the trailer would probably say something along the lines of “he had to go home … to find himself.” Oh, and his sister’s getting married. Obviously. The script keeps it fresh, but underneath the sheen, there’s a suspicion of stock.

There’s a point in the movie, where Clooney says something like, “I had to empty my backpack before I could see what I wanted to put in it.”

I almost — ALMOST — stood up and screamed at the screen. You don’t have to do it this way, George!

It’s a credit, though, to Reitman and his co-writer that despite this wobble, they didn’t lose their bottle and go down a shmaltzy, predictable route towards the end credits. It still might have a slight predictability about it, but it’s not shmaltzy. It’s not Planes, Trains and Automobiles and for a horrible few moments, as I was preparing to push my buttocks up out of my chair and drawing breath to curse the projectionist to a diabolical inferno, it looked like that was what it was aspiring to be.

So, the end it delivers probably still managed to disappoint half of the audience who were keeping their fingers crossed for happily ever after. For me, though, it provided enough redemption to complete the story arc while still remaining true to itself.

Not at all bad. Maybe I should forget movie’s names on the way to the cinema more often.