View from the Top

Bomb Rating: 

Girls, the key to happiness is to be a complete and utter doormat.

"View from the Top" offers itself as a movie about female empowerment, but is really nothing more than a sexist story of a woman who can't be complete without a man. In the end, trailer park hick Donna (Gwyneth Paltrow) gets everything she wants out of life: She becomes an international stewardess. Unfortunately, she decides that life just isn't complete unless she's with her man, Ted (Mark Ruffalo).

Notice that Ted never offers to relocate to New York where Donna lives. It's up to Donna to return to Cleveland where Mark lives, because he's a lawyer and she's a stewardess; because she's a woman and he's a man, and it's up to the woman to go to the man. No matter how hard it wants to try, this movie has one profound message: "Girls, the key to happiness is to be a complete and utter doormat."

This is one of those films that tries to create humor outside of its characters' universe. Two examples characterize the film easily enough. First, Mike Myers' character, John Whitney, is in the movie solely to feature Mike Myers. His character is a silly, ridiculous, entirely unbelievable person. It's like watching a film and then suddenly having the channel switched to a Mike Myers skit. In another scene, director Bruno Barreto stages a preposterous fight between Donna and Christine (Christina Applegate). Girl fights are in, you know.

The film also has the feeling of a celebrity roast. Rob Lowe appears as a co-pilot on one of Donna's early flights as if to say, "Look, Rob Lowe can indeed get work after The West Wing." Candice Bergen and Kelly Preston also make appearances bordering on cameos, suggesting that their parts were expanded in script rewrites. In fact, the film feels like the kind of story rewritten so many times that it wouldn't be surprising if the original story was about chickens that attack Cleveland.

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