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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monte Carlo

Don't Mess with Paris, Texas!

Director: Thomas Bezucha
Writers: Thomas Bezucha, April Blair, Maria Maggenti, Kelly Bowe, Jules Bass (Novel "Headhunters")
Stars: Selena Gomez, Katie Cassidy, Leighton Meester, Cory Monteith, Luke Bracey, Pierre Boulanger, Brett Cullen, Andie MacDowell

Monte Carlo movie image
Watch Monte Carlo Trailer Now
SYNOPSIS: Grace longed and saved for a trip to Paris after high school graduation. Armed with her best friend and her step-sister, a Paris tour gone wrong turns misfortune into mistaken identity for a British heiress and a trip to Monte Carlo.

REVIEW: 2005's
The Family Stone writer and director Thomas Bezucha returns, with help, for the big screen adaptation of Jules Bass' novel "Headhunters". Gone are the four middle-aged New Jersey women looking for adventure and mates by pretending to be four of the richest widows in the world. Missing are the rich men the women prey on, also impostors in their own rights. Instead, the story is simmered down to reluctant Prince and the Pauper tale. But in this case, the prince is a 'princess' who is a self-centered British heiress named Cordelia Winthrop Scott, and the pauper is Texas graduate girl Grace (both played by Selena Gomez) who saved and scrimped her entire four years of high school for the trip of self-discovery to Paris. Along for the ride are her best friend and waitress co-worker Emma (Katie Cassidy from
A Nightmare on Elm Street) and her step-sister Meg (Leighton Meester from Country Strong).

Light and airy, Monte Carlo runs along the lines of The Princess Diaries, playing at teenage love and adventure for the adolescent girl. The scenic backdrop is splendid, both in Paris and Monte Carlo. Those not longing for romance will enjoy the view anyway. But for the young ladies, they will enjoy Meg's friend from Australia Riley (Luke Bracey in all his young Heath Ledger rugged good looks), Emma's Texas grown boyfriend Owen (Cory Monteith from Glee) and the handsome Theo Marchand (Pierre Boulanger) who falls for the girl that Grace is, but under the guise of the rich Cordelia.

Two standouts performances are the suspicious Aunt Alicia (Catherine Tate), and Selena Gomez herself. Selena's bored jet-setting rich girl image with her stare-downs and constant phone conversation really made for a good antagonist. Also, a certain concierge at a certain Monte Carlo Hotel de Paris steals the show as he fights with Cordelia on the phone, Grace at the counter, hotel security and the local police.

Altogether, Monte Carlo is a story of a girl looking to see the world, a girl looking to lose herself to the world, and a girl looking to hide herself from the world. Will a trip to Paris, then Monte Carlo, help Grace to find her center? Will time in the City of Lights help Emma to see what she is leaving behind? And will a much-deserved vacation help Meg to let go of the chains of her mother's death? In the end, what we learn on the road or across the oceans is just as familiar as what we can learn at home - just ask a dimmer switch.

WORTH: Matinee or Netflix


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