Fox 2000 Pictures
October 18, 2011
Monte Carlo is perfect when you're looking for a fun Saturday afternoon in. Based on Jules Bass, but very different (the book was about four middle aged women who set off to Monte Carlo intending to pose as rich women, the movie about three teens who travel to Paris and are mistaken for someone rich), Monte Carlo stars Selena Gomez (Ramona and Beezus and "Wizards of Waverly Place"), Leighton Meester ("Gossip Girl," Country Strong) and Katie Cassidy ("Supernatural," Taken and some "Gossip Girl," too).
Grace (Gomez) has been saving up to travel to Paris after graduation with her best friend Emma (Cassidy) - but when her mother and new stepfather tell the girls that Meg (Meester) is going as well, no one is happy. Meg and Grace are not happy about being 'sisters' and Meg and Emma - both older than Grace - couldn't stand each other in school.
Things only get words in Pairs when their hotel is not what they expected and their tour bus leaves them behind. The girls are sure their trip of a lifetime is ruined until Grace is mistaken for a wealthy socialite and the three are taken, in a whirlwind, off to Monte Carlo where glitz, glamour, boys, and fun await them. If they can (and want to) keep up the ruse.
Monte Carlo is a fantastic movie for tweens and teens - but one that anyone who enjoys a lighthearted teen movie with some feeling will really enjoy watching. The three girls (Gomez, Meester, and Cassidy) all do a fantastic job; even after seeing them in other roles - and roles that you get used to seeing them in, characters you strongly associate them with - it's easy to let those go and see them as their characters in this movie.
In the very beginning of the movie it was a little confusing (having not read much summary-wise) to know what the girls relationships to each other was and it would have been nice to have just a tiny bit more with them together before they went to Paris - but it was okay to do without.
It was really nice to see the way their relationships developed over the course of the film. Each girl got to have her own story that was strong on its own and developed well yet the central relationship that the girls had together didn't suffer for it. Their bond -as friends and/or sisters really grew and developed from start to finish and it was great to see.
The new guys that were in the movie - Luke Bracey as Riley and Pierre Boulanger as Riley - were fantastic. Not only are they quite fun to look at in a movie, they're also not at all bad at acting. I haven't seen either of them in anything before but they were excellent counterparts to Grace and Meg's characters. (And I do hope to see them in something again.)
Cordelia, the heiress that Grace is mistaken for - and also played by Selena Gomez - may have been a little over the top, but it worked because she was obnoxious and annoying so you didn't sympathize with her or think, "Maybe they shouldn't be doing this." At least not based on her. (It also kind of works for the character, actually.)
The filming of Monte Carlo is really bright and beautiful. The shots that are outdoors makes you really want to visit Paris and Monte Carlo. It keeps well with the plot (and the age range that the film will/should appeal to) that the filming is all bright and well lit.
There aren't a ton of costume changes in this movie - fewer than most, actually - but there are some beautiful dresses and the clothes that there are are help define the characters.
The soundtrack definitely fits each scene. Most of its fast and upbeat with a few slower or older (or even French) songs but each fits extraordinarily well with each scene in which its played.
With the novel which Monte Carlo is based on sounding so very different from the movie, I'm not sure I will read it -but I do think if you've enjoyed The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot or Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Last Little Blue Envelope, you should give Monte Carlo a look - and the reverse.
Monte Carlo is a good movie with great filming and scenery that's great for tween and teen girls (or anyone -like me - who generally enjoys movies usually marketed to them), it has nice guys and some nice values, too but is still a whole lot of fun.
Thank you to Mandy at Fox Publicity for my copy of the movie