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Movie Review: "View From The Top"

This amiable piece of fluff starring Gwyneth Paltrow as a small-town girl who wants to see the world, and so becomes a flight attendant (after a fairly funny detour working in the luggage department of a Wal-Mart-type store in her hometown), isn't the greatest movie in the history of mankind, but as an escape from reality for 90 minutes, you could do worse.

It's got a few laughs from Mike Myers as the flight-attendant instructor, though the constant viewing of the fake glass eye that they gave him, gets tiresome after a while. Christina Applegate of "Married With Children" does a nice turn as the "bad girl" counterpart to Paltrow's good-girl; they get into a lovely catfight, and Candice Bergen plays the kind of "Hall-of-Fame stewardess" from years ago, who wrote a book which provides the movie's title.

One thing I found odd is that, though the film is set in the present day, all the characters dress in clothes that evoke the early 1970's -- bright psychedelic colors, miniskirts, and hairstyles to match, and the flight-attendant uniforms also seem way out of date. That's obviously intentional, but what the director was trying to say by doing this, I'm not sure. A very funny character -- Josh Molina as an openly gay male flight attendant -- is introduced, has a few funny lines, then vanishes. That's about how the whole film is -- hit and miss; a few funny lines, then it tries to be poignant and teach us a lesson about what's really important in life, and so winds up as yet another in the line of mostly forgettable movies that Paltrow has done... sometimes I wonder about her choices, after doing such wonderful films as "Shakespeare In Love", "Sliding Doors" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley".

Still, you can't hate a film where they rip both Oprah and Dr. Phil, and you get to see Gwyneth Paltrow prance around a hotel room in her underwear, and in various other skimpy clothing.

AYRating: ** 1/2