View From the Top’ doesn’t fly

Kimberly Dupps and Kimberly Dupps

Donna Jensen knows there is more for her in life than working at Big Lots in a small Nevada town. The here-and-there plot and shoddy acting leave the audience of “View From the Top” knowing there could have been more to the movie.

Donna (Gwyneth Paltrow) thought her big break was being moved to the luggage department by her boyfriend, the assistant manager of Big Lots. He was going to take her out of the area — he’s being transferred to a bigger and better Big Lots. But after breaking up with her in a birthday card, Donna knows she needs to get out finally –by herself.

Opportunity presents itself when Donna sees famed flight attendant Sally Weston (Candice Bergen) on a news-magazine show, promoting her new book. Donna lands herself a job at Sierra Airlines, where “big hair, short skirts and service with a smile is the motto.”

But teasing her hair and spending weekends on a small houseboat don’t make Donna happy. So she takes fellow Sierra flight attendants Sherry (Kelly Preston) and Christine (Christina Applegate) to a Royalty Airlines job fair.

Christine and Donna make the cut and are invited to attend the Royalty training book. When Donna ends up at Royalty Express, she knows she has not reached her goal. She wants more first-class Paris flights.

There are speed bumps to her goal — boyfriend Ted (Mark Ruffalo) and backstabbing friends.

While the speedbumps add interest to the story, director Bruno Barreto (“Bossa Nova,” “One Tough Cop”) should have picked something and stuck with it. There are too many competing plots that prevent the audience from getting interested in any single plot. Part of the problem — but in the end, the most successful — is the expansion of the flight attendant trainer role. When Mike Myers signed on to play John Whitney, the small role was expanded. Myers, though, provides much needed comic relief to the film. Paltrow does all right as Donna, but it is hard to keep a straight face watching Paltrow with teased hair and white-trash outfits. Her eagerness is believable.

The girls, Preston and Applegate, are OK but more for show. Preston’s character was unnecessary and Applegate’s role does little for the movie but provide minimal plot support. Applegate is good as a sidekick, but should have been given the time of Preston’s character as well.

“View From the Top” is an OK movie that is worth the price of a matinee ticket — paying much more might leave you thinking, “I should have waited for this to come on video.”

Grade: C+