Not a few critics are calling Up in the Air a film for our times while at the same time comparing it with the classic romantic comedies of the '30s and '40s by Billy Wilder, Leo McCarey, Garson Kanin, Frank Capra, Ernst Lubitch and Preston Sturges. They're also predicting Oscar nominations for its star, George Clooney, and its writer-director, Jason Reitman. And several have designated it best picture of the year. (Indeed it is being released on the same day that the National Board of Review, the group that traditionally opens the awards season, named it the year's best.) In the movie, George Clooney plays a "transition specialist" whose job is to fire people for corporation executives who don't have the stomach for such business. It marks "the high-water mark in George Clooney's career," says Peter Howell in the Toronto Star. At the crosstown Toronto Globe and Mail, Rick Groen commented, "Clooney is made for this role." Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post judges Clooney to be at the peak of his career. "He operates not just as an actor but also as a finely machined screen object," she writes. But Reitman garners even more rapturous reviews. Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal says that Up in the Air , Reitman's third feature (after Juno and Thank You for Smoking ) shows him to be "a filmmaker of rare distinction." Claudia Puig in USA Today calls him "a bona fide filmmaking talent ... a modern-day Frank Capra." Several critics call attention to the fact that Reitman is the 32-year-old son of producer-director Ivan Reitman, whose credits include Animal House, Meatballs, Ghostbusters, Twins, and Junior. In his review of the movie, Roger Ebert notes that Reitman has said that one of the questions he is most often asked in interviews is, "How does your father feel about your success?" Comments Ebert "Bursting with pride, is my guess."