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
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
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.