View from the Top (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is the movie in which Gwyneth Paltrow plays a small-town girl who uses a career as a flight attendant to escape a dead-end life.

There are two fundamental problems with View from the Top:

1. Although it was marketed as a comedy, it isn't really funny and rarely tries to be. It is a naive, wide-eyed romance about a small-town girl trying to live out her dream to be somebody. It's closer to a romantic comedy, but that's only because love does finally conquer all. It's probably better described as a lightweight drama with some attempts at funny moments.

2. It has a very confused POV. Gwyneth Paltrow goes through the entire movie determined to follow her dream and let nothing get in her way. In the last five minutes or so, she decides that she should alter all of her dreams just to be with the right guy, and that her dreams weren't worth jack shit.

I suppose that teenage girls might think there was some entertainment value here, and sub-18 year olds do rate it much higher than other age groups, but my own daughter's review was succinct: "Sappy, and with the sappiest musical score ever. It's like they made a movie aimed at young girls, but they let 40-year-old gay guys pick the music. Eeeeew"

I thought it over and realized she had a point.

So there you have it. This is probably a movie worth avoiding.

The most interesting thing about the film is to speculate about what the hell is happening to Gwyneth Paltrow's career. Four or five years ago, she seemed to be Hollywood's go-to girl for every important role. Now all the important roles for women 25-39 are going to Zellweger or Winslet or Cameron Diaz or even Jennifer Connelly, while Gwyn has concurrently made some lightweight choices. View from the Top and Bounce are both poor films and unimportant ones. Some of her other choices in the past three years have not been awful movies (Duets, Shallow Hal), but are insignificant ones, and have thus signaled Gwyn's removal or perhaps self-exile from the A-list.


None. Christina Applegate exposes one entire butt cheek in the outtakes, during a scene where she fell off her mark while wearing a bikini. Gwyneth Paltrow showed her right breast in one frame when it fell briefly from her bikini. The rest of the movie offers nothing better than bikini shots from Applegate and Gwyneth Paltrow.

DVD info from Amazon

  • History of the flight attendant

  • A journey inside the movie

  • Music of the movie

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

Looking at her upcoming schedule, I don't see any certain blockbusters, but I'd guess that's it's not too late for her. She may get some critical credibility back by playing the lead role in a biopic of the late Sylvia Plath, but I can't imagine the suicidal poet route is going to improve her box office average, even if it does give her some award opportunities and a chance to work with her underrated mom, Blythe Danner.

Her best hope for a return to fame and glory seems to be her reunion with John Madden - no, not the vociferous football coach-turned-commentator, but the director of Shakespeare in Love. She will co-star with Anthony Hopkins in Madden's Proof.

Of course, when you're talkin' about careers on the wrong side of the mountain - Rob Lowe was in this movie. He had about three lines, and those could have been cut.

The Critics Vote

  • General USA consensus: one and a half stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 2/4, BBC 1/5. Roger Ebert was a major exception.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.0/10. People under 18 score it 6.5/10.
  • Box Office Mojo. Domestic gross only $16 million despite a big media blitz and a 2,508 theater roll-out.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. I scored it that high on the assumption that it is the bare minimum bottom-feeder among the simple minded romances aimed at teenage girls. If you are not a teenage girl, consider it an E and don't even think about it.

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