View from the Top (2003)
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Review Date: March 17, 2003
Director: Bruno Barreto
Writer: Eric Wald
Producers: Matthew Baer, Bobby Cohen, Brad Grey
Gwyneth Paltrow
Christina Applegate
Mark Ruffalo
A small-town girl who doesn't get much encouragement from her family discovers a mentor via a successful flight attendant who provides her with the needed support to pursue her own dreams to the top. Unfortunately for the sexy mamasita, becoming a "stewardess" is harder than she anticipated as one obstacle after another gets in the way of her ultimate goal of "Paris, First Class, International". And that's about as deep as it gets, folks.
This film is about as manufactured a fluff-piece as any movie that I've seen this year. Reeling itself in around the 85-minute mark, VIEW FROM THE TOP features Gwyneth Paltrow "slumming" it as a white trash loner (I didn't buy it!), Christina Applegate and Kelly Preston showing off their "assets" every chance they get (now that, I bought!), Murphy Brown alternating accents like it was going out of style, Rob Lowe in what may be the smallest cameo of all-time and Mike Myers making an utter fool of himself as a flight instructor with a crossed eye . I don't usually see many critics walk out during a screening (you know, professionalism and all), but a couple of fed up peers bee-lined it straight to the exit sign about half an hour into this ditty, right around the time its 18th "scene transition with a peppy tune" was kicking in. Now I'm always one to dig on a soundtrack when it actually complements a film (think Tarantino or Scorsese), but when a movie seems to focus more on pushing its songs than actually working in some real human interaction...I ain't down (btw, I've never seen any film milk a song as much as this one squeezes the crap out of "Time After Time"). That being said, I can complain about the soundtrack or the plot's obvious contrivances until I'm blue in the face but it wouldn't matter much if the laughs were a plenty. Unfortunately, I don't remember smirking even once during this entire picture either. Well, maybe once when they showed Paltrow strutting about in a super-short skirt and "looking dumb" for the umpteenth time. That was pretty funny.

Other than that, the main torpedo in this comedy's arsenal is the appearance and over-the-top nature of Myers' character, whom I personally didn't consider to be even remotely humorous (the bum eye might've worked as a 2-minute SNL sketch, but in a full-blown movie?), as well as plenty of "goofy" bits with the girls in either bikinis or really short skirts! (yay for short skirts!) As for the story, well, Mark Ruffalo (great man!) shows up to give the film that added "romance" via Paltrow, and even though the chemistry between them is zilch and he looks like a little boy next to her, I guess they needed something extra to stir this film into a plot. The finale is also about as expected as Harvey Weinstein moist on Oscar night, while the age-old message about never choosing your career over your honey-bunny provides the film some semblance of "raison d'etre" (I got it already...now leave me alone!) An idiotic and unbelievable "conflict" is also tossed into the mix near the end, but I didn't buy that either. In fact, I didn't "buy" a whole lot of stuff in this film, most especially not the fact that these people were real characters with real lives in actual circumstances. It all felt phony and staged, like when Rob Lowe turns around and says "Hi, I'm the co-captain on this flight", you're just thinking: "Dude, you're Rob Lowe in a captain's uniform...go back to West Wing, man!"

I'll tell you what kind of movie this really is though. You know those Saturday nights that you go to the video store and rent three films at the same time? The first one is usually a movie that you're really jazzed to see, the second, something a little "out there" and the third, a flick that you "might" get around to watching if you're not tired enough or that you really don't care about and will likely fall asleep halfway through. VIEW FROM THE TOP is that 3rd rental!! Oh yeah, to complete this film's obvious attempt at swaying its audience, an outtake reel is slapped onto its end, but alas, even the sight of Gwyneth Paltrow's face being stuffed into a French roll can't save this dud (now if it was French Toast, on the other hand...)
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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