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Posted on March 20, 2003 at 7:41 pm

B-
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Characters drink and smoke
Violence/ Scariness: None
Diversity Issues: All major characters white, gay character
Date Released to Theaters: 2003

It’s hard to imagine what attracted such a high-powered cast to this this forgettable little movie about a small-town girl with a dream. It’s almost a “Far From Heaven”-style tribute to the movies we like to think of as being from a simpler era, but there is no ironic distance and no attempt to re-invent the genre for another era. It’s like an episode of “That Girl” you might come across on the TV Land network.

Gwenyth Paltrow plays Donna, the daughter of a much-married former showgirl who lives in a small town in Nevada. She dreams of a bigger world, and is looking forward to moving to Tucson with her boyfriend. But he breaks up with her in a birthday card (he explains that they don’t sell breaking up cards). She thinks she will be stuck there forever until she sees Sally Watson (Candice Bergen), the most famous flight attendant in the world, on television. Now Donna’s dream has direction.

She gets a job as a flight attendant on a commuter airline for gamblers. But she wants more — she wants to do first class on international flights, like Sally. So she applies to Royal Airlines.

Will there be setbacks for her to be plucky about? Will there be a dreamboat to make it hard to take that job when it does come through? Will there be comic relief in the form of a quippy gay guy and a teacher with high standards and an eye problem? Oh, so you’ve seen this movie before? Me, too.

This is a cotton candy movie, and it melts away into sticky nothing almost before you can taste the sugar. There are some mildly funny moments and the performances are fine, but they don’t make up for its lack of anything particularly engaging in its characters or story. The coming attraction has all the best moments and the credit sequence outtakes have more vitality than the rest of the movie.

Parents should know that the movie has some strong language and sexual references. A character gives the finger. There is a reference to circumcision and there are jokes about a character’s “talent” for hickeys.

Families who see this movie should talk about how Donna came to believe that she was capable of more than she had been told. How can families help their members believe in themselves and their dreams?

Families who enjoy this movie may also enjoy some of the movies that inspired it, like “Come Fly With Me” and “Three Coins in a Fountain.”

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