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View From The Top (PG-13)
Official Site
Director: Bruno Baretto
Producers: Mathew Baer, Bobby Cohen, Brad Grey
Written by: Eric Wald
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Applegate, Mike Myers, Mark Ruffalo, Rob Lowe, Candice Bergen, Jon Polito, Kelly Preston

Rating: out of 5

When did Hollywood filmmakers stop enjoying light comedies? In the heyday of classic Hollywood people like Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, Ernst Lubitsch, and Frank Capra gave a light comedy just as much effort as a “heavier” picture. It seems that now, on the other hand, directors and screenwriters will dash off a simplistic rehash without giving a second thought about how to make a fresh film.

View From The Top uses the standard “girl chases her true destiny” plotline, following the adventures of Donna (Paltrow), a small-town girl who’s just been dumped by her long-time boyfriend. While sitting in a bar she happens to hear a television interview from top flight attendant Sally Weston (Bergen). With Weston’s motivational message driving her, she begins to work her way up in the flight attendant industry. On her way she meets a nice guy named Ted (Ruffalo), and attends a training school run by John Whitney (Myers).

Paltrow is an Oscar-winning actress, and she deserves better than this. The rest of the cast, no matter how well known, deserve better than this. Only one person manages to be even remotely memorable.

Mike Myers is the closest thing to Peter Sellers in quite a while. From his own films to the character parts he occasionally performs in others’ films, Myers has a commitment to an idea and an ability to disappear into character that is amazing. I have read that Myers effectively adlibbed his entire part here, and it shows—his are the only truly funny sequences. Unfortunately most of the jokes are spoiled by overexposure in the trailer.

Which brings me to another major complaint: This film completely lies in its advertisements. From watching the trailer, which contains every good joke in the movie, it appears that Mike Myers and Rob Lowe have major roles in the film. They don’t. By my tally Myers appears in a total of six scenes in the entire film; Lowe in only one scene.

This movie feels cumbersome in its construction, introducing characters like Rob Lowe’s pilot and Kelly Preston’s flight attendant who seem to serve no purpose. Then, as if the filmmakers suddenly realized this fact, they’re quickly ushered out of the movie. Lowe is introduced and comes off as the obvious choice for the love interest, yet disappears the moment the actual love interest arrives. Preston proves redundant when Christina Applegate arrives to play the best friend role.

In yet another violation of the senses, here we have assembled one of the most jarringly bad soundtracks in the history of film. From current bland, derivative pop singers like Shania Twain to classic bands like Journey and Bon Jovi, the ears are assaulted at every turn. The use of ’80s music in this film is also makes little sense. If this is supposed to be a period film, they never bother to mention that we are in the ’80s, yet every other scene seems to be set to some pop song people quit listening to after 1989. The music, like the movie, should have been much better than this.

But hey, maybe I’m asking too much from this film. What should I expect from a movie that starts with a song from Journey?

What makes me feel bad about this is that it seems that no one even tried to make this an interesting film. Director Baretto seems to be fine with a simple formula. Set of popular actors A plus the group of tired jokes B equal C, a box office return big enough to get himself another project. He aimed for mediocrity and got there, and that’s why people should actively avoid this film. Every time something like this makes money it reinforces the belief that this is the quality level we want from entertainment. We have to stop going to see films that are just good enough (a standard that View From The Top doesn’t even meet). If we do maybe studios will realize that they have to start making interesting films, not just bland retreads.

—Jesse Trussell


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

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