Donna Jensen’s just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world. She took the midnight train heading to a low-rent airline to fulfill dreams of being a flight attendant. It’s not often that Journey lyrics can be used to paraphrase a movie’s plot, but it works for View from the Top, so there you go.
In fact, “Don’t Stop Believin’” opens and closes this feather-light piece of romantic piffle. Endlessly filled with more contemporary you-go-girl pop songs, View from the Top is so straightforward that it at times seems like a parody. But it aggressively browbeats you into enjoying it while it’s on, even if it’s the sort of movie that evaporates from memory once the lights come up.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays Donna, who decides to pursue her goals after being dumped by her no-account boyfriend. With a hairstyle that alternates between Daniel Day-Lewis’ ’do in The Last of the Mohicans and something from a Whitesnake video, all Donna can initially land is a job on the fleabag Sierra Airlines.
But she aspires to be royalty … Royalty Airlines, that is, which is the crème de la crème of the flight world. In the world of flight attendants, Donna’s the best, but will she choose the international first-class flights to Paris over the new love in Cleveland she’s found with charming law student Ted (Mark Ruffalo)?
Much of freshman writer Eric Wald’s screenplay is filled with bad sitcom-level one-liners. It’s no surprise, then, that Rob Lowe, Kelly Preston, Christina Applegate and Candice Bergen all seem like they’re guests on a bad episode of Friends.
Like everyone else, even manic Mike Myers is forced into a scene where he tells Donna she can do anything she wants to do. But he still gets in some good laughs as a lazy-eyed flight-attendant trainer and even a tolerable amount of poignancy out of his ocular predicament. And Paltrow, so above material such as this, still lends it her trademark grace and give-it-her-all charm.
But just as Myers’ character is a stickler for airline procedure, so is director Bruno Barretto for predictable romantic-comedy shtick, which ultimately grounds View from the Top in mediocrity.