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Friday
Jul012011

Monte Carlo

I don’t see every new movie release. There are multiple screenings each week for a wide variety of films, some of which I am either unable to attend or not interested enough in to make the trip to the screening room. But for some strange reason, I decided to check out the new Selena Gomez film, Monte Carlo. What a mistake that turned out to be. Never have I been so uninterested in a movie to the point where I find it not even worth criticizing. Nothing would please me more than to just forget about it and move on with my life, but because I attended the screening, I am obligated to write a review. So with my apathy in consideration, read on.

Monte Carlo stars Gomez as Grace, a recent high school graduate who has been saving up for years to afford a trip to Paris. She is hoping her trip to the City of Love will take her mundane life and transform it into something magical. So she, along with stepsister Meg, played by Leighton Meester, and best friend Emma, played by Katie Cassidy, hop on a plane and head out. When they arrive, things don’t go as planned and they end up stumbling into a posh hotel where Grace is mistaken for British heiress, Cordelia, also played by Gomez. Although they know they shouldn’t, they put on a ruse and Grace begins to act like Cordelia. Supposedly funny things begin to happen.

It should be said right off the bat that Monte Carlo is a harmless movie. Sure, the three girls don’t face any repercussions for their outrageous actions, but they learn along the way and grow closer to each other as they wander about one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s not going to, in any way, corrupt its target audience, all of whom I suppose will find enjoyment in it, though it’s hard to say because I’m not, and never have been, a 12 year old girl.

What makes the film so lousy is its strict adherence to formula. Its ambitions go no further than crafting a dream world about love for the young ladies in the audience already looking forward to their wedding days. The entire movie, more or less, is about finding love in Paris (and you know all three will find it by the end), but Paris, Je t’aime this isn’t. It’s unrealistic and cheesy, setting up impossible expectations that will undoubtedly crush those young girls when they get older and realize that relationships are a lot more difficult than the movies make them out to be.

Of course, being harmless doesn’t mean it’s any less stupid, and it treats its viewers the same. It’s one of those films that shows us an instantly recognizable landmark, in this case the Eiffel Tower, and then unnecessarily follows it with huge letters in the middle of the screen: “PARIS” it informs us. It’s a movie that tries to wow us with pretty clothes and jewelry rather than through plot development and emotional power. It even attempts to stir up dramatic tension through hilarious overreactions, like early on when Emma’s boyfriend breaks up with her because he doesn’t want her going to Paris for a whole week. Why, you ask? Who cares.

This film is not meant for me, I know that, but I don’t watch movies for others. I watch them as they are, regardless of demographic. My philosophy is just because a movie is meant for a specific audience doesn’t mean other audiences won’t like it (take last year’s delightful Ramona and Beezus, for example), but Monte Carlo is just dreadful. It’s not funny, romantic, or even interesting to look at, despite the lush backdrops the characters find themselves in.

Monte Carlo receives 1/5