View from the Top

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Donna Jensen (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a girl from a small town in Nevada who wishes to see the world in order to get away from her unhappy life of living in a trailer with her alcoholic mother, a former Las Vegas showgirl, and her abusive, alcoholic stepfather. After graduating from high school, Donna tries to make ends meet by working as a clerk in a Big Lots. After her boyfriend (Marc Blucas) leaves her for another girl, she goes to a bar where she sees a talkshow segment about Sally Weston, who has written a memoir called My Life in the Sky, and decides to follow her destiny by becoming a flight attendant. Her first position is at a small, seedy California commuter airline but this success builds her confidence up and encourages her to attend open interviews for Royalty Airlines. She convinces her two co-workers, Sherry and Christine (Kelly Preston and Christina Applegate), to join her. While Christine and Donna get in, Sherry does not. Donna puts her heart and soul into the training camp, and, after meeting her idol Sally Weston (Candice Bergen), she is determined to be assigned to the top route, “Paris, First Class, International”. Alas, when the assignments are posted, Donna is shocked to discover that she has been assigned to a commuter route in Cleveland. Christine, who had initially struggled with the material and procedures, has inexplicably been assigned the high-priority New York route.

A few months later, by chance, Donna runs into Christine in Cleveland. Donna knows from previous experience that Christine has the airplane soap from Sally’s house during their training sessions, but is still shocked when Christine empties her handbag to reveal all manner of Royalty Air items. Even the smallest theft is strictly prohibited by Royalty Airlines, and could mean termination. Still sure there was some sort of error in her route assignment, Donna turns to Sally Weston for help. Through a course of events, Donna discovers that Christine had switched their test booklets when they were being handed up to their trainer – Christine’s route assignment is rightfully Donna’s, and vice versa. When Sally asks to have airline security spy on Christine’s flight – to see if she stole any property (a code blue) – Christine gets caught and is fired from Royalty. Donna gets the chance to re-take her exam and achieves a perfect score, resulting in being assigned a Paris, First Class, International route. However, following her “destiny” means deciding between a boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo) and her career. She chooses her career.

Though she gets all that she wants – Paris, first class, etc. – Donna realizes that she is still not happy. She misses her boyfriend in Cleveland terribly, and with Sally Weston’s encouragement, she returns to Cleveland to meet him. She does, and after a heartfelt speech to his deaf grandmother, which he overhears, the two kiss and make up. The movie ends with Donna wishing her passengers well as they land in Cleveland, having become a pilot.

REVIEW:

This past week I was so busy with work and all matter of other issues, that I didn’t really get to watch and/or review any films. I think I may have snuck one in there, barely. Hopefully, I’ll be getting back to schedule soon, starting with this romantic comedy that a couple of people have asked my opinion on, View from the Top.

What is this about?

A small-town girl’s dreams of becoming a flight attendant hit some turbulence when she meets a catty colleague, a frisky pilot and a crazy instructor.

What did I like?

Fly away. The last time flight attendants received any kind of publicity, that I am aware of, is that short-lived show from last year, Pan Am. That show and this film are all flight attendants have. Compare that to the countless films we have about cancer patients, athletes, talking animals, crime, etc. and you can see the difference in the numbers. In this day and age when everything seems to be a carbon copy of everything else, new subject matter is a welcome thing.

Mentor or mom? Candice Bergen plays a great mentor to Gwyneth Paltrow’s character. This is one of the few times she plays a character that actually has warmth and a nurturing side. It is almost as if she is Paltrow’s mom. Perhaps, given the crappy home life outlined at the beginning of the film, she was meant to be a maternal figure that Paltrow looked up to because of her book.

No girl power. I don’t want this point to come off sounding like I’m some sort of misogynist, but I am so over the moon with glee that this didn’t try to speak to the female audience exclusively. Girl power and feminism is fine and all, but I’ve had just about enough of it in every film. Being able to watch a film not be beaten over the head with an agenda was something that I may possibly have enjoyed more than the rest of the film.

What didn’t I like?

Party on Wayne. The talent that Mike Myers has is a topic that many argue about. Some say he’s a genius, others say he’s just annoying. I’m not here to debate one way or the other, but rather to mention how he is basically useless. Well, let me take that back. His character has purpose in the film’s plot as the flight attendant trainer, but the eye thing got old quick and didn’t fit with the tone of this film. Then again, I’m not sure the film knows what tone it wanted to take, either.

Hulk needs love, too.  Shouldn’t romantic comedies have romance? It seems as if this is something the filmmakers forgot to  include in the script because there is little to no romance between Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo’s characters. Most of the film is spent doing everything but have these two interact. On the plus side, all those tropes commonly associated with rom-coms aren’t present, thankfully.

Bodies on the floor. I can see why John Travolta married Kelly Preston. She is quite the vision of loveliness, but for some reason her breasts were nearly scraping the floor in this film. I bring this up because it was distracting and since she wasn’t in the film for that long a period of time, it was almost as if there was some sort of comedic reasoning behind this. If that was the case, fine, but if not, then I have to say WTF?!?

Talk about a film that has no direction. View from the Top is a mishmash of drama and comedy that never quite finds the right formula. There is unlimited potential here with a great cast, decent story, and some nice moments. For me, this was just a time killer film. There was nothing particularly special about it. So, no, I do not recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

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