View from the Top

It is really bizarre and truly kind of sad seeing an Oscar-winning actress like Gwyneth Paltrow in a movie like View from the Top. In the strange world of movies, this one qualifies as a Saturday Night Live movie. First and foremost, it is not funny. It takes stereotypical characterizations of people (in this case, pseudo-trailer trash) and makes fun of them. It has cameos or roles by SNL alumni (here it's Mike Myers and Will Ferrell). And it has a fetish for music from the 80s. There is a small amount of humor in this movie, which mines the familiar theme of choosing between life and love, but it has been done much better in other movies.

Paltrow (Possession, Austin Powers in Goldmember) is Donna, a simple girl from Silver Springs, Nevada who dreams of something more. She finds it in the biography of Sally Weston (Candice Bergen, Sweet Home Alabama, Miss Congeniality), in whom she finds a kindred spirit. Weston rose from nothing to become the best flight attendant in the world. She had the power to travel across the world and meet people! Wow! Donna immediately signs up with Sierra Airlines, a no-frills company, where she meets Sherry (Kelly Preston, Daddy and Them, Battlefield Earth) and Christine (Christina Applegate, The Sweetest Thing, Just Visiting), and they become fast friends.

Later, she and Christine make the jump to Royalty Air, a bigger and better company, where they meet trainer John Whitney (Myers, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Shrek). The joke here, that Whitney is cross-eyed. Director Bruno Barreto (Bossa Nova, One Tough Cop) shoves a joke that isn't that funny in the first place continuously down the throats of the audience. Oh, at her last job she met a really cute guy named Ted (Mark Ruffalo, Windtalkers, The Last Castle). Ruffalo is usually a pretty understated guy, but he does so little here it's almost as if he is invisible. In fact, screenwriter Eric Wald feels the need to have her running around from place to place and job to job meeting tons of people who do nothing to further the story. It gives View from the Top a rushed feeling to it, like Wald is trying to hit certain plot points before wrapping things up.

After some double-crossing by someone she thought was a friend, Donna begins to slowly work her way up through the ranks. Her dream is to travel, and nothing will deter her attaining it. Until she meets Ted again, and begins to fall in love. Now this means that something will happen and force her to choose between her career and Ted, and Wald comes through. However, the fact that the story is utterly predictable is not what does it in. It is the lame attempts at humor, and faux female bonding that end up making the film a tad bit annoying. Why is it funny that everybody at Sierra wears skin tight uniforms and has poofy hair? And why does it seem like Applegate brought her wardrobe from Married with Children and lent it to Paltrow and Preston? The obstacles in Donna's way all seem manufactured just to keep the movie moving along, taking what little charm that is actually present, and rendering it moot.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 25 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language/sexual references.

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