Volume 96, Issue 92
Tuesday, March 25, 2003

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A View From The Top

A View From the Top looks crappy down here

Gazette file photo

A View From The Top
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Applegate, Mark Ruffalo, Mike Myers
Directed by: Bruno Barreto

By Mark Polishuk
Gazette Staff

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.


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