Stranded Gwyneth Paltrow serves as a cotton-candy parachute as this
flimsy, ailing airline comedy plummets into oblivion. Filmed several years ago,
it's been gathering dust on the Miramax shelf and it becomes quickly obvious
Paltrow plays Donna Jensen, an idealistic small-town girl whose fervent
wish - since childhood - is to get as far away from Silver Springs, Nevada, as
possible. When she glimpses Sally Weston (Candice Bergen), a glamorous,
successful former flight attendant hawking "My Life in the Sky" on TV, she sees
her route out. Beginning with Sierra Airlines, a regional carrier of gamblers
and drunks whose motto is "big hair, short skirts and service with a smile," she
aims ever higher and higher. "It's your destiny," encourages Weston, now her
mentor, as Donna joins the more prestigious Royalty Airlines, where she's
groomed for duty by a self-conscious, cross-eyed trainer (Mike Myers). Despite
sneaky double-dealing and a ludicrous cat-fight with a trashy training-school
roommate (Christina Applegate), she finally makes it: Paris, First-Class,
International! But then - in the City of Light on a lonely Christmas Eve - Donna
realizes the reality of what she left behind: namely, a cuddly lawyer (Mark
Ruffalo), who adores her.
Writer Eric Wald dredges up every hackneyed stereotype of the
bubbleheaded stewardess, while Brazilian director Bruno Barreto wheedles cameos
from Rob Lowe and Kelly Preston. And, curiously, the '60s spandex micro-mini's
and gaudy, skintight tops may presage outfits for the upcoming Hooters Airlines.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "A View From the Top" is a dim-witted 3.
Only Gwyneth Paltrow's beguiling charm saves it from crashing.
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger