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View from the Top
2003 - PG-13 - 87 Mins.
Director: Bruno Barreto
Written By: Eric Wald
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Mike Myers, Rob Lowe, Christina Applegate, Kelly Preston
Review by: John Ulmer
   
Here's where being a film critic is tricky. This movie isn't really bad, it's actually worth seeing in some senses. It's less than 90 minutes long, which is a safe bet for a comedy. But it fails to deliver any laughs, it stumbles in its course and has some major flaws. As a film critic, my assignment is to tell the readers my humble opinion of whether a film is worth paying to see. In that regard, no, "View from the Top" is not recommended by me. I didn't even really enjoy it that much. It delivers nothing fresh. But I never checked my watch, I never felt like doing something else with my time. It is a harmless film, a good-natured, sappy one-laugh movie that isn't as clever as it thinks it is but still manages to be sublimely interesting in an odd fashion. It kept me interested, although there may be a difference between interested and entertained.

"View from the Top" has been in what filmmakers call "production hell" for quite some time. It finally was released only to bomb at the box office. I don't blame the public for ignoring it. It's sad to think that the funniest thing about "View from the Top" is that Mike Myers' co-star role as a weirdo airline employee is the highlight of the movie. Myers' cameo may be self-indulgent, but not nearly as much so as Adam Sandler's in "The Hot Chick." In fact, without Mike Myers, I would have given this movie an even lesser rating.

The movie is about airline stewardesses and their way to the top. This sounds like a dull subject because it is. This can hardly be stretched out into a long movie without becoming repetitive. But, in a sense, it isn't cliched - there are no evil characters bent on the heroine's destruction, there aren't any sexually suggestive pilots hitting on the heroine. It's just a story about a woman trying to make it to the top. It will probably inspire and enthrall the younger crowds but leave older audiences unsure.

The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Donna Jensen, a small-town girl who dreams of leaving her country home and moving out into the real world. After reading an inspirational book about a flight stewardess who made her way to the top, Donna leaves home and joins a low-key airline service. Rob Lowe makes a cameo as the pilot but then disappears for the rest of the film. With the ads for the movie, you'd think he's a main character.

Donna meets up with Shelly (Kelly Preston) and another young stewardess played by Christina Applegate. They decide to join Royalty Airlines, but Donna's test results are switched and she ends up being turned down for a job at the airline by Frank Whitney (Mike Myers), who has a funny eye that turns inwards and in order to read he must go through crazy guestures.

This movie has sweet performances and sweet intentions, and comes off the way it wants to - sweet - but I can't bring myself to fully recommend you pay to see it. "View from the Top" isn't a particularly fine movie. It's watchable fluff, and the techniques the film use are not as cliched as something like "Legally Blonde." But in the end, I realized I had barely laughed at anything. Perhaps cliches aren't always the things to avoid.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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