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View From The Top review

Rumour has it that Gwyneth Paltrow's pet name for this grim outing is "A View From My Ass". Hardly surprising, really - having been kept in a holding pattern since 9/11, this tedious rom-drama finally touches down truncated and mutilated.

Paltrow is a white-trash smalltown gal who dreams of becoming an airline stewardess. She's the finest trainee in her class, but loses out when her `best' mate Christina Applegate swaps exam papers with her. The next 40 minutes plots a predictable flight path, with Gwynnie struggling to prove she was wronged so that she can take to the skies.

This should never have left the ground. Paltrow is miscast, her aristocratic languor clashing visibly with her protagonist's working-class guilelessness, while Mike Myers' grotesque `comic' turn as a cross-eyed instructor belongs in a different movie altogether. But what really transforms this short hop into a long haul is Bruno Baretto's evident discomfort behind the camera. Saddled with a plot that jets erratically between sappy romance, Euro travelogue and vulgar farce, the Brazilian filmmaker fails to establish a consistent tone. Small wonder that entire scenes (including Myers' ill-conceived terrorist gags) ended up on the cutting-room floor, resurfacing as outtakes during the end credits.

In fact, only Applegate's sterling work as Paltrow's treacherous pal upgrades this from one-star ignominy. And that's on a good day with the wind behind it.

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