Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Movie Review

Monte Carlo

MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Family
Genre:
Adventure Comedy Romance
Length:
1 hr. 49 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
July 1, 2011 (wide—2,400+ theaters)
DVD: October 18, 2011
Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox

truth

lies

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity—such as smoking, gambling, etc.—is wrong? Answer

sin

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.

wealth

storybook romances

Featuring: Leighton MeesterMeg
Selena GomezGrace
Cory Monteith … Owen
Katie Cassidy … Emma
Catherine Tate … Alicia
Andie MacDowell
more »
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Producer: Blossom Films
Fox 2000 Pictures
Mid Atlantic Films
New Regency Pictures
Regency Enterprises
Walden Media
Nicole Kidmanproducer
more »
Distributor: Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox

“She’s having the time of someone else’s life.”

Selena Gomez stars as Grace, a graduating senior who has planned a week-long trip to Paris with her best friend Emma (Katie Cassidy). Since her parents don’t entirely trust Emma, they have Grace’s more conservative and responsible stepsister, Meg (Leighton Meester) join the trip.

Aside from personality conflicts, the trio tries to make the best of their French vacation, despite the perpetual rushing of their tour guide. While at the Eiffel tower, the ladies get inadvertently left behind, and as they freshen up at a posh hotel, Grace gets mistaken for British heiress Cordelia Winthrop Scott. Though initially hesitant, at first, Grace and her friends soon begin to enjoy the lavish lifestyle and accept a fully paid trip to Monte Carlo in order to partake in a charitable fundraiser. Along the way, they all find romance, and the true definition of what it means to be true to one’s self.

“Monte Carlo” is directly targeted for the tween demographics, so it has the simple plot, perfect coincidences and the really cute love interests. Surprisingly though, it does contains several moments of reflection and, at times, regret. Yes, Grace does continue to reap the rewards of being Cordelia’s doppelganger, but at least her conscience and those of her friends aren’t entirely guilt-free. They have several discussions as to their wrongdoings. These are important if a parent decides to allow their children to watch the film, since the discussion platforms have already been established.

All three females have love interests. These are portrayed sweetly, and all kisses are closed mouth. Meg (Leighton Meester) and her guy do sneak into a dance club, and it’s hinted that they spend the night together, since he returns her to her hotel room the next morning. When Grace’s love interest kisses the real Cordelia, she slaps him.

There are some very low-cut dresses in the film. Additionally, Grace (Selena Gomez) and Emma are shown in bikinis. Grace’s blue bikini does bare a lot of cleavage, and her subsequent swimsuit cover is still a bit too revealing. During the opening scene, Grace’s legs are zoomed in on, as she sits on a counter. Emma wears short skirts, at times, but Meg comments on her wardrobe, telling her that children are present, and that she’s wearing “hoochie” heels.

During their stay at a hotel, the girls open their window and see a man in his bathtub across the street; this scene, however, isn’t sensual, but rather humorous. There’s a brief shot of a topless painting. An attractive male is called “delicious”. During an airplane ride, Cordelia is on the front cover of a Hello! magazine. Meg and Emma then tell Grace that she’s been a “bad, bad girl”. When she questions them on what Cordelia did, they simply ask what didn’t she do.

There’s an occasional wine glass, but no one is shown ddrunk. At one time, Meg tells Emma not to drink as they need to focus. In addition, the profanity is mild, with one use of the word as*. The rest consist of a few uses of the word “crap” and “jerk”.

The most consistently objectionable content is the deception. The film’s biggest downfall is the lack of consequence. When a million-dollar necklace is accidentally lost, Grace decides to go back to the hotel and confess the entire situation to the real heiress. Her friends agree to go with her. This is definitely a good, commendable moment. However, this sense of right is soon deluged with the girls stooping to a whole new level of kidnapping, when Cordelia threatens to end the charity auction. Though initially feeling justified in confining Cordelia in the name of charity, Grace soon confesses her wrongdoing. When things are revealed, however, this new crime along the others, is simply dismissed, heavily implying that the heiress, in a way, deserved the treatment, due to her snobbery. If parents decide to watch the film with their kids, it’d be really important to discuss the old saying that “two wrongs don’t make a right”. In Romans 12:17-18, it reads:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.”

Still, the characters learn to love themselves. My favorite growth was that of Emma. She dreamed of a big life, but when a prince attempts to woo her, his charisma only lasts so long, before she sees him and his friends for what they really are. She then realizes everything she loves is back in Texas. In Galatians 6:4-5, Paul writes:

“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else…”

I don’t personally recommend the film. Though a bit bland and formulaic, the film does offer a few lessons, even though it could have ended on a stronger note. I will say that I really enjoyed the last scene where two characters truthfully reintroduce themselves with a good old fashioned handshake.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild—OMG (1), “cr*p” (1), “*ss” (2) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I enjoyed this film, and there is very little that one could find offensive. There is one mild swear word toward the end, but no use of God’s name in vain, which was nice to see. The storyline is not bad at all and holds together nicely. I don’t care for Selena Gomez’s acting, but I thought Leighton Meester was really outstanding.

Three girls go on a trip to Paris. Due to a mistaken identity, they wind up in Monte Carlo to help with a fundraising event. Their façade will soon come crashing down, and they then have try to save the charity, cause they are supporting. Two of the girls are step-sisters who mend their differences through the experiences on their trip, and one of the sisters comes to terms with her mother’s death. All three find romance, and, in some ways, it is reminiscent of the movie “3 Coins in a Fountain”.

My only criticisms of the movie are that wrongdoing has very little consequence in the film, and, also, that all the girls” problems are solved once they have boyfriends… which isn’t the best message to give to young girls. The story is clean and enjoyable though, and I’d recommend it to anyone wanting a girls’ night out.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kathy Pj, age 51 (Canada)
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie, it was cute and sweet. The whole premise of the movie is that Grace takes the place of socialite Cordelia, so the deception is definitely a negative. However, Grace is conscious that if she doesn’t pretend to be Cordelia she will let a lot of people down. Namely, the charity that “Cordelia” is hosting to help underprivileged children. She often talks about how their lives will be made so much better because of the charity establishing schools. She ultimately decides to create change in her own life. ***Spoiler*** She goes to help the charity by teaching and helping the children. I thought that, that aspect was admirable. Overall, I like this PG movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Nora, age 19 (USA)
Positive—There is not much wrong with this film. What is wrong with it has been covered in other reviews. The cinematography is beautiful. What is particularly wrong with it—as the impersonation is not something that the average teenager can replicate—is that it shows the conservative girl wandering the world with a pick-up. There is no sex implied or portrayed respecting that relationship, beyond a kiss, but to an adult, the implications are inevitable.

On the positive side, one of the characters gets married—denying the validity of the post-World War I quip that was said of the Doughboys—“How are we going to keep them down on the farm, now that they have see Paris?”

Overall—you will not find a better secular film for your teenagers, but, as always, you should see it before they do OR see it with them, so you can discuss it with them.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—BP, age 53 (Australia)
Positive—This movie wasn’t nearly as silly as I thought it would be. It was actually fairly slow-paced, for the most part. Younger girls who are attracted to it because of Selena Gomez might be disappointed, but I enjoyed it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Positive—I felt that “Monte Carlo” was a breath of fresh air, compared to other similar movies aimed at teenage girls. There was an attempt on the part of the producers/director of the film to return to the glamour of older Hollywood films, for example “Roman Holiday” or “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn. What teenage girl doesn’t dream of a glamorous trip to Europe? And, I feel that the film delivered on that level. For example, the polo match, the cute guy with the French accent, meeting a cute Australian guy, etc. Also, the film did well to capture the excitement of visiting a place like Paris or Monte Carlo. There was even a scene with one of the characters watching a Grace Kelly film “To Catch a Thief,” portraying similar scenes…

So, I would like to commend the makers of the film for producing a “higher class” film than, perhaps a film like “Bratz” or “Sharpay’s Big Adventure…”

As a 40-year-old woman viewing the film, I felt a little unsatisfied as to not enough shots of the gorgeous locations… for example the recent film “Letters To Juliet” really went out of its way to show us amazing locations all over Tuscany… and, for those of us that are unable to travel personally, films like that make us feel like we’ve been there. But, in this film, apart from shots of the Eiffel tower, etc. There wasn’t much that would make you feel like YOU had a stroll through Paris. Like, where was the scene of the girls enjoying a croissant and a REAL European coffee served with class, as opposed to the gigantic sugar-filled drinks that are served at certain chain coffee shops in N. America?

We did get to see the inside of fancy hotel rooms… but most people to go France to enjoy the architecture and scenery and culture… or how about a humorous scene of the girls trying to order a meal from a French menu? or enjoying French culinary? Isn’t it true that teenage girls in North America would benefit from being shown that there are OTHER types of “classy,” not just what N. Americans think is classy? more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Candy, age 40 (Canada)
Neutral
Neutral—Cute, fairly clean teen chick-flick with a weak plot. While no where near brilliant, I feel that this movie did get a few things right:

1) The three main characters; the interactions between them were interesting and amusing, and they felt like real relationships.
2) Cordelia Winthrop Scott: over-the-top and cliché, but her deadpan delivery was a hoot!
3) The opening song, “Blow Away” by A Fine Frenzy, one of my favorites.
4) The scene in Paris, when Grace is losing it because the trip hasn’t gone according to plan. This was, in my opinion, the best scene of the movie, because I believe Selena Gomez perfectly captured the disappointment of a teenaged girl when her dreams are crushed. I remember that feeling, and I felt crushed just watching her.

And the things that didn’t work: The plot. The entire movie is filled with weak, unrealistic, and recycled plot devices, people over-reacting, under-reacting, and so on. And unfortunately, I can only call this a “fairly clean” film because of the fact that one of the characters—a straight-laced type—loosens up for an evening, parties all night with a guy she just met, and ends up globe-trotting with him. Over all, I feel that there are other teen-flicks that have achieved the whole ‘rags-to-riches’ and ‘girls-switching-places’ gimmicks more successfully. I’d place this one somewhere above “Princess Protection Program” and beneath “Freaky Friday.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Sarah C., age 21 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I was told that if I enjoyed “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” I would love “Monte Carlo.” This certainly got me excited, because I loved “The Lizzie McGuire Movie.” After watching it, yes, the storylines are similar. However, the “The Lizzie Mcguire Movie” has a certain charm that “Monte Carlo” lacked. I can’t pinpoint what was missing in “Monte Carlo.” Sure, it was a cute movie… but it got a little boring.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised that this movie did not contain a heavy amount of “Disney romance.” The relationships were kept mild, nothing to get your young daughters fantasizing about for days after. I would definitely recommend this movie for a fun sleepover with young girls. I wish I had waited to see it on DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Corrin, age 15 (USA)
Positive—Ok, I am a HUGE Selena Gomez Fan, and I was SO excited I was gonna see it. When I came out of the theater/cinema, I was so impressed how much they had done in that movie. It was the perfect romance comedy movie for 10 or older girls. I was impressed by Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy’s acting. They did a REALLY good job. It had a great plot, but, however, the plot may not be suitable for probably 7 or younger, unless parent or guardian says it’s ok. But it was GREAT, and I LOVED it more with Selena Gomez in it.

As her #1 fan, I bless and LOVE her with all my heart and Lord Jesus will bless her with all His heart and will take good care of her.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Christina, age 10 (USA)