A View from the Top (2003) / Comedy-Romance

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language and sexual references    
Running Time: 87 min.

Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Mike Myers, Christina Applegate, Candice Bergen
Director:  Bruno Barreto
Screenplay: Eric Wald

Review published March 23, 2003

A VIEW FROM THE TOP had me scratching my head so much, I thought I'd go bald by the end of it. I almost feel guilty for calling this a comedy, because every attempt at humor (if there were any) had me looking more and more bewildered that someone, somewhere, thought this piffle would ever be the kind of material people might enjoy. I have read that this film sat on the shelves for a couple of years before Miramax decided to release it, and it's a shame it didn't remain on the shelf permanently. I suppose whatever they paid Paltrow and Mike Myers had them thinking they should try to recoup some of their losses, but perhaps outside of women already  in the industry, I can't understand anyone really finding any value in seeing a small-town girl living out her dream of seeing the world by becoming a flight attendant.

Paltrow plays the young woman, Donna, and she not only wants to be a flight attendant, but one of the best, hoping to land the first class assignment for an international airline. However, her climb to the top isn't so easy, with conniving competition and a love interest that won't leave his hometown of Cleveland, she must make some sacrifices in order to achieve her quest.

Judging on the casting, it looks like it could be a decent flick, and certainly will leave you thinking this must have some laughs, or at least a pleasantness to make it all worthwhile. What the filmmakers failed to do was give us something compelling to draw us into the story, as most of us not only do not have any fascination whether some woman has what it takes to be a flight attendant, the film makes the mistake of making it the main focus of the film. Sure, there is a romance, and Mike Myers provides an occasional chuckle, but most of that is left on the backburner, while watching Paltrow go through the motions, as if seating passengers and serving drinks at 20,000 feet is the stuff that generations of viewers need to discover and appreciate.

This movie is only of recommendation for viewers who are entertained by films based on the color schemes, outfits, and soundtrack. You'd have to judge movies solely on aesthetics rather than on plotting or story, and if you do, you'll really appreciate the hard work put in by screenwriter Eric Wald and director Bruno Barreto to make sure that the storyline or characters don't interfere with your concentration in scoping out your next set of earrings or in singing along to your favorite ditties, like Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." If you are a very kind person, you'll bring a portable DVD player for anyone you are taking along to the theatre with you, so they can at least enjoy a decent flick while this one is showing. The only thing I enjoyed about A VIEW FROM THE TOP was the irony of the title, as it's no doubt the best place to be when setting your sights this low.

Qwipster's rating:

2003 Vince Leo