View from the Top

View from the Top

2.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5

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Donna (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a nobody whose only dream is to leave her Silver Springs trailer park behind. Thanks to super-stewardess Sally Weston (Candice Bergen), Donna learns to aim high. But the go-getter screws up on her stewardess exam and, rather than fly “first class international” (her mantra is repeated enough times that its only a matter of time before it’s deflated), ends up working commercial flights heading out of Cleveland. Though she finds love with a law school dropout played by Mark Ruffalo, Donna still hankers for the international airways. Stuck between a rock (of love) and a hard place (Christina Applegate’s Judas Iscariot), Paltrow’s Barbie Girl forsakes love for Paris. The two-dopey-gals-in-cotton-candy-wonderland gimmick suggests that Romi and Michelle’s High School Reunion was first-time screenwriter Eric Wald’s point of departure. The sets look great but there’s still only a good dozen jokes strewn throughout the film and, even then, you’ve seen much of this arsenal in the film’s trailers. This blasé hodgepodge can’t decide whether it wants to be a romantic comedy or an absurd send-up of believe-in-yourself inspirational dramas. If Ruffalo appears to take his character entirely too seriously then there’s no explanation for what Applegate does here; she makes a half dozen entrances in the film and she never seems to be playing the same person. Mike Myers, as lazy-eyed flight instructor John Whitney, is allowed free rein over the production and only adds confusion to the mix. The overall effect is not unlike watching tumbleweed roll across the screen with an improv-happy lounge lizard popping its head into frame every 15 minutes.

Image/Sound

Another incredible transfer from the folks at Buena Vista Home Entertainment. View from the Top's theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is gloriously preserved on this DVD edition of the film. There's some minor edge enhancement here and there, but the print is remarkably clean and the film's fabulous colors come through brightly without seeming over-saturated. On the other hand, the front-heavy Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track comes across a bit muddled at times. Dialogue is crystal clear but one-dimensional sounding and easily overpowered by the film's many plane and airport sounds.

Extras

First up is the informative ten-minute featurette "The History of the Flight Attendant," which features an assortment of interviews from ex-flight attendants, experts, and one creepy older gentleman about the origins of the flight attendant. (Before the feminist movement kicked into high gear, many of them were required to be nurses and, not surprisingly, fit certain age, height and weight quotas.) The "Music of View from the Top" extols the faux-feminist anthems hand-picked for the film's soundtrack while the making-of featurette "A Journey Inside A View from the Top" is pretty standard stuff, allowing for the film's cast to pat each other on the back for six consecutive minutes. Ultimately, this featurette is notable only for the quickie montage of outfits Paltrow had to wear for the film. (Ah, simple pleasures!) Also included here are trailers for The Duplex and Chicago and the requisite Miramax Golden Age promo clip.

Overall

Anyone annoyed by the film's faux-feminist message should be equally annoyed by the interactive menus straining to give the fluffy, bare-bones features collected here an airport-themed context.

Image 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Sound 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Extras 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Overall 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5 2.5 out of 5

Specifications
  • DVD-Video
  • Dual-Layer Disc
  • Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Dolby Digital Formats
  • English 5.1 Surround
  • French 5.1 Surround
  • DTS
  • None
  • Subtitles & Captions
  • English Closed Captions
  • English Subtitles
  • Special Features
  • History of the Flight Attendant
  • A Journey Inside View from the Top
  • Music of View from the Top
  • Sneak Peeks
  • Buy
    DVD | Soundtrack
    Release Date
    September 9, 2003
    Distributor
    Buena Vista Home Entertainment
    Runtime
    87 min
    Rating
    PG-13
    Year
    2003
    Director
    Bruno Barreto
    Screenwriter
    Eric Wald
    Cast
    Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Applegate, Mark Ruffalo, Marc Blucas, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Preston, Rob Lowe, Candice Bergen, Mike Myers