Film Reviews


By • Mar 21st, 2003 •

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Miramax Films
Running time: 87 minutes / Rated PG-13

Bruno Barreto’s lead pipe comedy. All I can say is: Gwyneth, why?

Donna Jensen (Gwyneth Paltrow) aspires to escape her white trash upbringing in small-town Nevada. She has goals, she has dreams (though they do not include Peace on Earth). She gets a job as a flight attendant on low-rent Sierra Airlines. Her two buddies, Christine (Christina Applegate) and Sherry (Kelly Preston), are trashy and proud of it. Preston’s acting instrument is – let’s hope – prosthetic, huge breasts. The ladies apply to Royalty Airlines, but Sherry doesn’t make the cut. She’s gone from the movie.

Royalty’s flight attendant school is in Cleveland and presided over by passive-aggressive, malcontent John Whitney (Mike Myers). Yes, Myers needs movie venues outside of the obscenely profitable Austin Powers franchise. So why not just play the part straight instead of using a lazy eye as a running gag? Could it be Myers knew it wasn’t a funny part and tried unsuccessfully to salvage what he could? A desperate measure gone awry.

The patron saint of flight attendants, Sally Weston (Candice Bergen), takes a liking to Donna and becomes her mentor. The Holy Grail for stewardesses, according to Donna, is the ”Paris, first class, international” route. Donna fails to make the international routes but is given a minor domestic route. Christine, her lazy roommate, who happens to be a thief as well, somehow makes the grade. Unrealistically, when free-traveler Donna actually straightens things out, she dumps her good natured boyfriend Ted (Mark Ruffalo), an aspiring lawyer, and moves to New York. She finally makes the sky route to glamorous Paris but, you guessed it, she misses Ted.

The problems are insurmountable and must fall primarily with the director: Barreto did not deliver the light touch he was hired to provide. The screenplay by Eric Wald has no funny lines or comedic situations. I would love to read the screenplay that moved this forward. Why did everybody say “yes” to the screenplay? If the screenplay worked, who decided not to film the comedic stuff? Mark Ruffalo is a good, sincere actor, but is not given the material to show the audience he’s sexy, interesting and worth wanting. I understand the casting difficulty here – too charismatic would have been a problem. It’s the job of the director to overcome the screenplay’s limitations with visual information. Didn’t it work with Josh Charles in SWEET HOME ALABAMA? Sadly, the outtakes at the end of the movie show a lot of funny stuff was filmed but dropped. What happened?

Donna: Gwyneth Paltrow
Ted: Mark Ruffalo
Christine: Christina Applegate
John Whitney: Mike Myers
Sally:Candice Bergen
Sherry: Kelly Preston
Co-pilot Steve:Rob Lowe

Directed by Bruno Barreto.
Written by Eric Wald.

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