31 July 2015

Monte Carlo (starring Selena Gomez)

This isn’t the kind of film I would naturally have thought of seeing; however, it was in a double-pack with another film I was interested in, and I found it inexpensively second-hand. Wanting something light and fluffy to watch last night, we decided to see what it was like.

The story is about three young women in the United States. Grace, who has just graduated from high school, has been working as a waitress and saving up for a long time to go on the trip of a lifetime to Paris. Her close friend Emma, who also works as a waitress, is going too; Emma is a few years older, but quite flighty and potentially irresponsible. So at the last minute, Grace’s stepfather announces that his daughter Meg, who is a contemporary of Emma’s will be accompanying them.

Grace and Meg don’t much like each other, and when they arrive in Paris they discover that the tour they booked is not at all what they expected. Their accommodation is dingy and uncomfortable, the tour guide rushes everyone from place to place with no time to pause or enjoy the landmarks.

Nor does the bus wait when the three are a couple of minutes late… and by a series of unlikely events, they find themselves in Monte Carlo, in a luxurious suite, with Grace being mistaken for a snooty celebrity called Cordelia who is booked for a charity ball and auction.

It’s not surprising that Grace is considered a look-alike of Cordelia’s, since both are played by Selena Gomez. She manages both in a believable way, although I found Meg (Leighton Meister) more believable and natural. Emily (Katie Cassidy) is mostly caricatured, although her character develops in the middle of the film, and she becomes more likeable.

Monte Carlo is probably intended for a young teenage audience, but on the whole we liked it. We particularly appreciated the cameo role played by Catherine Tate, as Cordelia’s wealthy aunt; having only seen Tate in her role as a Doctor Who assistant, we appreciated her very much in this part.

The story is light-hearted - frankly silly at times - and relies on a too many coincidences, particularly related to a young man who takes a liking to Meg. We didn’t laugh aloud, but there were places that were somewhat amusing, and it didn’t require any deep thought. I don’t know that it was uplifting, exactly, but the ending was entirely satisfactory, if rather predictable (and dogged by yet another coincidence).

The rating is PG, which we felt was entirely appropriate. There are lots of short skirts, but no nudity (unless we count a very brief appearance of someone up to his neck in soap). There’s a fair amount of kissing, but nothing more: we thought this quite refreshing in a film of this kind. There’s some mild profanity, but it would be easy to miss; nothing major, and nothing gratuitous. I doubt if anyone under the age of about 12 would be interested in this anyway.

Review by copyright 2015 Sue's DVD Reviews

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