Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
Leighton Meester … Meg
Selena Gomez … Grace
Cory Monteith … Owen
Katie Cassidy … Emma
Catherine Tate … Alicia
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Fox 2000 Pictures
Mid Atlantic Films
New Regency Pictures
Nicole Kidman … producer
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|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.