Monday, July 4, 2011

Monte Carlo is a Delight!

Grace (Selena Gomez), Emma (Katie Cassidy), and Meg (Leighton Meester) are three girls from a small Texas town who go on a much-anticipated trip to Paris only to end up on the whirlwind tour from hell. They have a lot more fun when they make their way to Monte Carlo after Grace is mistaken for Cordelia Winthrop Scott (also Selena Gomez), a wealthy Brit heiress brat. In a comedy of errors, they stay in the best hotel in Monte Carlo, wear Scott’s designer clothes, and attend her charity ball with handsome French playboys, while the real rich bitch plays hooky from the event. This gives Grace the chance to expose the real her to a handsome French lad, throws reclusive Meg in with a handsome Aussie guy (Luke Bracey) out to discover the world, and allows diner-waitress Emma an opportunity to taste the high life, only to realize that her heart lies with her hometown beau, Owen (Cory Monteith).

There's lots to enjoy watching the three girls from Texas as their small-town eyes pop open in the midst of Monte Carlo extravagance, and as Grace’s masquerade leads her into some tight pickles. I laughed out loud at their delightful reactions to an experience that is a radical clash of cultures and economic backgrounds. The situations are lots of fun, but your enjoyment of those moments is guaranteed by the delightful performances of the three main performers.

Selena Gomez, with none of the brash delivery of Miley Cyrus, shows herself to be a very watchable actress. She’s cute, but believably so, and she never goes over the top. Cassidy is solid as the more daring, hedonistic Emma, but Meester as Meg steals the show, displaying a very sensitive, invested delivery of her lines. There’s an endearing playfulness about her that reminded me of Kate Winslet in Titanic. As the girl suffering the recent death of her mother and learning to enjoy life again, Meg’s character has more room for change, and Meester portrays that development very touchingly.

Delightful performances; beautiful shots of Paris and Monte Carlo; some comical turns by bit French actors as hotel clerks and policemen that reminded me of characters in Peter Sellers movies, and a nostalgic tie-in to To Catch a Thief make this an enjoyable movie. If I hadn’t taken my daughter, I wouldn’t have seen this movie, but I have to say I had loads of fun watching Gomez, Meester, and Cassidy have loads of fun portraying girls on a dream vacation.

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