x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Movie review: Monte Carlo

This is light, escapist fluff, but its charm makes it an enjoyable watch.

From left, Leighton Meester, Selena Gomez and Katie Cassidy in the movie Monte Carlo.
From left, Leighton Meester, Selena Gomez and Katie Cassidy in the movie Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo
Director: Tom Bezucha
Starring: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy
***

Selena Gomez is the latest in a growing number of teenage sensations to come from the United States, having sold more than a million albums and starred in hit a US television series. Now focusing her attentions on dominating the movie market, she heads an all-star cast in Monte Carlo. Gomez plays Grace, a young woman on a disappointing sightseeing tour of Paris with her sister (Leighton Meester) and her best friend (Katie Cassidy). Their vacation takes a turn for the dramatic when Grace is mistaken for spoiled British aristocrat Cordelia (also played by Gomez). Initially they go along with the mistake hoping for a glimpse into a life of glamour, only for their deception to take them all the way to Monte Carlo. The friends find themselves in too deep before long, with each woman finding love in this new lifestyle, and each having to find a way to escape. Monte Carlo is a prime example of what happens when Hollywood decides to "rework" source material. The novel it is based on, Headhunters, features middle-aged protagonists, and thus by aiming for a younger audience the story loses any resemblance to the book. The film itself, however, is funny in places and while the plot is a rather formulaic take on The Prince and The Pauper, charismatic stars and a brisk pace make the more melodramatic moments forgivable. Gomez is equals parts likeable and repellent as Grace and Cordelia respectively, while Meester and Cassidy are believable in their supporting roles. Light, escapist fluff that may only truly appeal to Gomez's core audience, but its inoffensive charm makes it an easy watch for any age.

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