Monte Carlo review

Oh to be a 14-year-old girl once again. Because if I was, Monte Carlo would surely have been the kind of film I would have loved. A case of mistaken identity (or identity fraud) leads to three young women living out their dreams, and finding their true selves, in the lap of luxury. The problem is, I'm not 14 years old. In fact, I'm a (mumble-mumble)-year-old cynic. So the idea of three young women living out their dreams, and finding their true selves, is enough to drive me quietly insane.

Monte Carlo follows two BFFs Grace (Gomez) and Emma (Cassidy) who have been saving up for a trip to Paris to celebrate Grace's graduation from High School. Unfortunately Grace's mother thinks it's a great idea to send along Grace's step-sister Meg (Meester) too. Once the three of them arrive in the French capital things start to go wrong - they're booked on the tour from hell, staying in a horrible hotel and get separated from their tour group on a trip up the Eiffel Tower. And then it rains! The horror! After dashing into the nearest swanky hotel, the three encounter bored British socialite Cordelia Winthrop Scott who also happens to be a dead-ringer for Grace. And so begins a story of mistaken identity, fantastic fashion and being true to your real self.

Each girl gets a romantic storyline, although the boys aren't nearly as fleshed out as the female characters. The main problem with the film is the lead actress still looks the same age as the target audience. Gomez obviously has a Dorian Grey-esque portrait locked away somewhere to keep her looking so young. And with her looking so young, the other two lead characters look such a lot older then her, so you wonder what they're doing hanging out with her. However, she does get to show some acting chops as the stuck-up Cordelia. A much stronger character than the soppy Grace.

The plot is extremely obvious, pretty much all the big points are signposted from the very beginning. In a way, it reminds me of The Princess Diaries, but without the humour (or Julie Andrews). It's also too long, it would have been much easier to sit through at 90 minutes.

As I said at the beginning, it's a perfect film for a 14-year-old girl. For anyone else – maybe wait for the TV premiere – although Gomez will probably look even younger by then!

Monte Carlo at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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