Movie Review – Monte Carlo

Every year someone happens to make a summer girly-flick and FoxPictures creates a cute one for a 2011 release. Film director, Thomas Bezucha,teams up with screenwriters April Blair, Maria Maggenti and Kelly Bowe to makean adaptation of Jules Bass novel “Headhunter” for the girly-adventure in Monte Carlo. Bezucha notes that, “Thisstory is about the experiences and memories of youth that forever affect theirlife. He adds, “I felt that it (the storyline) was a meaningful and emotionallyhonest take of what resonates with girls this age.”
A small town realist, Grace (Selena Gomez) along with her fashion consciousand best friend, Emma (Katie Cassidy), take the pomp and circumstance of theirhigh school graduation to a new level. The two diner waitresses put their earningstoward a dream vacation to Paris, France to escape their small town existence fora few short weeks. As luck would have it, Grace’s mother (Andie MacDowell) andsoon-to-be stepfather (Brett Cullen) put a damper on the trip with the purchaseof a ticket for Meg (Leighton Meester), Grace’s soon-to-be older stepsister, tojoin the high school grads. Their idea was as that the “older and wiser” chaperonewould keep the inexperienced teen’s in-line in spite of their mutual love-loss.Meg, annoyed at the parental guidance scheme, agrees to travel but only forselfish reasons: to take advantage of the chance of a life-time and with thehope to come to terms with the abandonment she’s felt by the death of hermother.
The girls arrive in Paris and are off to a normal start with theircatty banter ranging from the shoes they wear to the city tour they chose totheir interesting European accommodations. The grand illusion of the Parisvacation of their dreams unravels when they miss the tour bus at the EiffelTower. They must walk through the city in search of their hotel in a miserablywet thunderstorm. Money for a cab to the frugal threesome was not in thebudget. Lost and cold, the girls can’t bear to walk on one more cobblestone road,sopping from head to toe, so they enter a near-by hotel in search of warmth andshelter.
The Hotel is one of the most elite in the city; unbeknown to them.Their only concern is that the lobby restroom is wonderfully warm with dryers.Posh and luxurious was an added benefit. Shocking is who Meg and Emma encounterin the special convenience room, while Grace is still occupied. It is a Gracelook-a-like! The semblance to Grace is the very bratty British heiress,Cordelia Winthrop Scott (Selena Gomez). Emma and Meg eavesdrop on Cordelia’srestroom telephone conversation complaining that she must attend a charity inMonte Carlo at the request of her Aunt Alicia (Catherine Tate) but her luggagedid not arrive at her layover in Paris and must return home immediately.Cordelia leaves the restroom and the hotel but stops to yell at the hotel staffof their incompetency. Grace, Meg and Emma eventually exit the restroom andattempt to leave the hotel until the staff mistakes Grace for Cordelia. They informthe girls that their luggage has arrived safely and hands over the key to thereserved suite for the night. One night of luxury and a good night of rest isall Emma wants and strongly convinces Grace and Meg to indulge her.  
Morning dawns and the girls hurriedly try to leave the hotelbefore their true identity is revealed. The hotel hopes to regain theirpositive reputation with the heiress and properly whisk the girls away to theirprivate jet bound for Monte Carlo under the stolen identity of CordeliaWinthrop Scott. Their dream vacation begins as they seize the moment to handleCordelia’s charity engagement but must conceal their identity for a whole week.The romantic adventure is complete with available bachelors, beautiful jewelry,clothing and parties. They experience all that high society has to offer; but, thesegirls with heart can’t masquerade with a clear conscious. Truth is revealed butnot without a comedic adventure, involving endearing characters that contributeto the threesome learning serious life lessons at a very formative age. (KarenPecota)
Karen Pecota
24/7 MOMS film journalist
Released in local theaters: July 1, 2011
Movie rating: PG 13

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