A View From The Top
A View From the Top looks crappy down
From The Top
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Applegate, Mark Ruffalo, Mike Myers
Directed by: Bruno Barreto
By Mark Polishuk
Throughout A View From The Top, you're always waiting for the
other shoe to drop. Presumably, at any moment now, the movie will end
the earnest, you-can-live-your-dreams crap and start the zany comedy about
the stewardesses. Right? Right?
Wrong. The movie is trying for some kind of Legally Blonde-esque,
tongue-in-cheek humour, but unfortunately, View's tongue is too busy assisting
in the sucking process. Director Bruno Barreto plays the material completely
straight, and thus the audience is stuck with a movie bereft of wit.
Gwyneth Paltrow stars/commits career suicide as Donna Jensen, a small-town
girl who wants to escape her white trash small town by becoming an airline
stewardess. Donna and her friend Christine (Christina Applegate) work
their way up from a small-time Nevada commuter airline to the big-time
of Royalty Airlines. Donna is crushed, however, when she is assigned to
the low-profile Cleveland route, whereas Christine gets assigned to New
York. After a pep talk from her idol, legendary stewardess/motivational
speaker Sally Weston (Candice Bergen), Donna decides to keep a stiff upper
lip and continue to work towards her dream.
While in Cleveland, however, Donna falls in love with Ted (Mark Ruffalo),
a dashing young law student. Will Donna choose love or her career? Will
she ever reach the international routes to Paris? What is the theatre's
policy on refunds?
The story might be more interesting if Donna were capable of independent
thought. However, instead of solving problems for herself, she relies
on her friends, or Sally, and there's probably a Magic 8-Ball in there
somewhere. It's hard to get an audience to be interested in a character
that is so indecisive... well, except for Hamlet, but he was crazy.
The only person in the movie who seems to realize the inherent silliness
of this plot is Mike Myers, who gets a few laughs playing the permanently
cross-eyed stewardess trainer. The outtakes shown during the credits are
funnier than pretty much everything else in the preceding 90 minutes.
Myers took this small role in return for Paltrow's cameo in the last Austin
Powers movie, but after seeing the final product, Myers must wish he cast
Julia Roberts instead. If they've got Mike Myers hanging around, one wonders
why the producers didn't at least ask him to punch up the script.
After a distinguished career in Brazil, this is director Barreto's second
English-language film, after One Tough Cop. One gets the feeling
that ol' Bruno hasn't quite got the hang of the North American film yet.
View is not only bad, but sloppily put together. One gets the
feeling that this film was intended to be longer, but perhaps edited down
after the studio realized what a bomb they had.
Case in point, there are a number of notable actors in this movie that
appear, get nothing to do and disappear just as quickly. Kelly Preston
plays Donna's friend in Nevada, but after she fails to get into the Royalty
training program, she is never mentioned again. Stacey Dash and Rob Lowe
have a combined screen time of about a minute. The only brief cameo that
is actually funny is by George Kennedy, star of the Airport movies.
A View From The Top is destined to be one of those in-flight
movies that people would rather stare at the clouds than watch.