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MONTE CARLO

SYNOPSIS:
Fresh from high school in Texas, Grace (Selena Gomez) and best friend Emma (Katie Cassidy) use their savings for a long anticipated dream trip to Paris. Grace's mother (Andie MacDowell) insists her uptight step-sister Meg (Leighton Meester) comes along too, much to her dismay. When the girls miss their budget bus after climbing the Eiffel Tower, they duck out of the rain into the lobby of a luxury hotel, where Grace is mistaken for spoiled British heiress Cordelia Winthrop Scott. In no time at all, the girls are ensconced in a glamorous adventure in Monte Carlo where Grace becomes smitten by Theo (Pierre Boulanger), the handsome son of the host of the gala charity auction for which Cordelia is guest of honour.

Review by Louise Keller:
If ever there was a setting suited to a Cinderella story, it is Monte Carlo and this feel-good chick-flick about decadence, dreams and romance will have every young girl ready to jump on a plane, hoping to live the fairytale. The location is sheer glamour, the clothes and jewels strictly designer and three pretty BFFs seize the moment, prompted by a mistaken identity opportunity, allowing them a grand adventure complete with Prince Charming in triplicate. Tweens, teenage girls and anyone with a taste for romance, elegance and happy endings will warm to this sweetly endearing tale based on a novel by Jules Bass.

A trip to Paris has long been the dream of Texas high school graduate Grace (Selena Gomez) and now, she and her BFF Emma (Katie Cassidy) are nearly on their way. There's a little glitch when Grace's mum (Andie MacDowell) insists her stick in the mud step-sister Meg (Leighton Meester) tags along, but there are many other things to think about as they lap up the glorious sights in the City of Love. Trouble is, the budget bus-tour skips from location to location as if in fast motion and the budget hotel is nothing but a dump.

It takes little persuasion for the three girls to go along with the fantasy, when Grace is mistaken for notorious British heiress Cordelia Winthrop Scott. After all, they are bundled into a private plane and escorted to the seductively revolving doors of Monte Carlo's exclusive Hotel de Paris, to a spectacular corner suite filled with flowers and Champagne. The real Cordelia's luggage filled with designer clothes, shoes, handbags and jewels is also delivered into their suite. Luckily, Cordelia, Grace, Emma and Meg are all the same size.

All Grace has to do is don a plummy English accent and acquire an attitude. She hits it off with Theo (Pierre Boulanger), the handsome son to the charity auction host, while Emma is swept off her feet by a prince (Giulio Berruti) and Meg keeps running into a charismatic Aussie called Riley (Home and Away's Luke Bracey) who is travelling the world. Meanwhile Owen (Cory Monteith), who is Emma's one and only back in Texas, decides that long distance relationships do not work and decides to come after his girl.

There are some charming moments as Grace and Theo get to know each other watching the spectacular fireworks over the harbour and the polo scene with suspicious Aunt Alicia (Catherine Tate) is nicely played. Meg comes to terms with herself, thanks to her sympathetic Aussie and I like the scene on the yacht when Emma (dressed to the nines) realizes that the Champagne life is not all it seems. To Catch a Thief is playing on the television when she returns to the hotel.

Of course all good things must come to an end and there are funny scenes as the real Cordelia arrives, juggling Gucci and Chanel bags; the deception inevitably exposed with a flourish in a charming comedy of errors. Director Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone, 2005) manages the material well with enough humour, romance and glamour to please everyone as each story strand plays to its inevitable happy conclusion.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

MONTE CARLO (PG)
(US, 2011)

CAST: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Corey Monteith, Andie MacDowell, Brett Cullen, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes,

PRODUCER: Denise Di Novi, Alison Greenspan, Nicole Kidman, Per Saari, Rick Schwartz

DIRECTOR: Thomas Bezucha

SCRIPT: Thomas Bezucha, April Blair,

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jonathan Brown

EDITOR: Jeffrey Ford

MUSIC: Michael Giacchino

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski

RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 22, 2011







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