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View From The Top


View From The Top


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Born in a trailer park and resigned to working at a discount chain store, Gwyneth Paltrow's character in View From The Top is eking out a life that dead-ended before it even began. She's just a small-town girl living in a lonely world, but the sound of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" over the opening credits pretty much kills any suspense as to whether she'll ride the metaphorical midnight train going anywhere. That train arrives, as they often do, in the form of an Oxygen talk show featuring Candice Bergen, "the world's most famous flight attendant." Paltrow adopts Bergen's autobiography as a personal Bible, and soon she's working for a cut-rate carrier, but harboring the even loftier dream of someday serving as an international flight attendant for classy Royalty Airlines–a profession the film treats, with little irony, as rock star and princess rolled into one. Powered by an unceasing soundtrack of inspirational favorites like "Living On A Prayer" and "For Once In My Life," Paltrow pounds through a training program (overseen by a crazy-eyed and none-too-funny Mike Myers) that's part boot camp and part boarding school. But, in a film that's otherwise as devoid of conflict as an episode of Blue's Clues, the betrayal of her unscrupulous-slacker best friend Christina Applegate turns Paltrow's luxury-class Paris dreams into Cleveland commuter-route reality. Over in a breeze, padded out by a generous collection of outtakes, and filled with characters who disappear virtually unnoticed, View is an inoffensive comedy that feels like the victim of too much fiddling. Playing a character who's little more than a mannequin for odd-looking airline uniforms, Paltrow drifts through it all with a gooey look of girlish need. With only one bad guy–undone, in the film's oddest moment, by a catfight in which Applegate shoves Paltrow's head into a loaf of bread–it might be the only appropriate choice. Director Bruno Barreto, working from a script by first-timer Eric Wald, tries to invest View with a storybook quality, but stacks it with fairy godmothers, each seemingly more eager to help Paltrow than the last. And should she ever stop believing, there's always another power ballad waiting to poke her in the right direction.