Has the comedy well dried up faster than a nose in the Mojave? Miss Congeniality told us we shouldn’t laugh at beauty pageant contestants and now, the once called “waitresses of the sky” offer nothing in the realm of mocking, instead catering to a dream job in the sky for young women. View from the Top actually has the distinction of being the least offensive comedy released in March of 2003. After Bringing Down the House, Boat Trip and the upcoming Head of State, its nice to see straight, white people acting like straight, white people. So maybe that’s a boring demographic, but there’s not much else to say about a film as innocuous as this, except that its not very good.Donna (Gwyneth Paltrow) is tired of her white trash lifestyle. After getting the last straw of a greeting card breakup from her boyfriend, she gets inspired by someone I never knew existed – the world’s most successful stewardess (Candace Bergen). Her book is the catalyst for Donna to sign-up with the local airline that hosts “drunks and gamblers.” The only thing worth taking this flight for are the tight outfits forced upon the bodies of Donna and fellow employees (Christina Applegate and Kelly Preston). Love the bikinis, girls.
When Royalty airlines comes looking for fresh meat, Preston’s character is curiously dumped (maybe on scientology grounds) so we can follow Paltrow and Applegate through several vignettes involving trainer, John Whitney (Mike Myers). Myers gets about 80% of the film’s laughs and that’s from hitting about 50% of his own jokes; one of them a recurring lazy eye that gets the biggest laugh in a photograph with Marty Feldman. The other 20% come from Bergen in a nice 180-degree turn from her embarrassing bitchy mother-figures in Miss Congeniality and Sweet Home Alabama.
I can’t for the life of me understand why View from the Top chose to go the super-sweet sincere route. Probably since Eric Wald’s script contains nothing beyond the laughs already seen in the commercials. I’d actually be very curious how a stewardess could turn her position into monetary excess beyond also marrying a pilot like Bergen’s character does. Then again, all the characters are just doodles in a sketchbook, many of them (like Preston) making brief appearances and exiting the project. Rob Lowe might have been doing another favor for Myers, but his cameo proves he shouldn’t give up his primetime gig. The plot tries to amp up obvious tension by reminding us over and over again about Paltrow’s potentially rigged final exam. With one character set-up as an attention-grabbing thief, who would you finger as the culprit?I laughed a couple times during View from the Top. I smiled a few more mainly due to the music selection of 80s pop tunes outlining the story in case I couldn’t keep up. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” tells us Donna’s “a small town girl livin’ in a lonely world” and Bon Jovi informs us that she’s “halfway there…livin’ on a prayer.” It’s a sad sign when even the film’s score is nothing but variations on Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”. Which exactly what View from the Top is, another comedy that is instantly forgotten about on arrival. Something seen time after time that isn’t close to a near-miss, will land on video soon enough and is barely worthy of a pick-up.