Monte Carlo (2011) starring Selena Gomez, Katie Cassidy, Leighton Meester, Cory Monteith, Andie MacDowell, Brett Cullen, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes directed by Thomas Bezucha Movie Review

Monte Carlo (2011)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Selena Gomez in Monte Carlo (2011)

Fantasy Familiarity in France

For four years Grace (Selena Gomez) has had just one thing on her mind whilst at school and working part time as a waitress in a diner and that is her planned dream trip to Paris when she graduates with best friend Emma (Katie Cassidy). Unfortunately for Grace her mum and stepfather decide that Grace's older step-sister Meg (Leighton Meester) should join her, something which neither Meg nor Grace is thrilled about. But things take a curious turn when in Paris Grace is mistaken for spoilt British heiress Cordelia Winthrop-Scott and suddenly the three friends are living the high life and being whisked off to Monte Carlo where Grace meets Theo Marchand (Pierre Boulanger) who doesn't like what he knows about the brash Cordelia but warms to Grace thinking she is Cordelia. Meanwhile Emma's boyfriend Owen (Cory Monteith) arrives as he fears she will find love whilst in Europe whilst Meg also finds herself with a male admirer.

"Monte Carlo" is quite simply one of those movies which are so familiar that you are convinced it is either a remake or built in on elements of other movies. Yet the more familiar it becomes the more frustrated you become because you can't pin point where you have seen it all before. Not that any of that will be the case for the target young girl audience as you need to have watched a lot of movies to have that familiarity smacking you around the head. To give you an example when Grace and her friends arrive at their hotel they find it is a dump, when they open the curtains they have a view of a fat man in the bath across the street and when Emma plugs in her mobile to charge it she shorts out the building. It is all so familiar as is the main concept.

Leighton Meester in Monte Carlo (2011)

As to that main concept well we have mistaken identity mixed with fantasy romance as Grace is mistaken for a wealthy British It girl and gets to live the romantic high life, familiar again but maybe a slight variation on another movie or story. There is also the romance of her friends with Meg meeting a hunky Australian whilst Emma's boyfriend flies in chasing after her, something which I do recognize from "Only You". But whilst the familiarity of it all frustrated more than annoyed me I can see how for young girls this fairytale romance in Europe malarkey will work especially with the cute Selena Gomez leading things nicely.

In fact whilst "Monte Carlo" is a movie made for a much younger audience than myself there is something quite charming and inoffensive about it. That is not something you will usually hear me say about these sorts of movies but the energy and the innocence and probably the frustrating familiarity kept me watching, well that and some beautiful European scenery.

What this all boils down to is that "Monte Carlo" was a bit of a surprise as rather than just being an annoying fairytale rom-com for teen girls it had something about it, that air of unpin able familiarity which made it a little bit entertaining for grown ups as well.