CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film Review: ‘Monte Carlo’ is Cut Above Young-Women-Abroad Films
CHICAGO – Nothing like a summer surprise at the movies to make the season a little more tolerable. Selena Gomez and the ubiquitous Leighton Meester take a sumptuous trip and brings us along in “Monte Carlo.”
Using the old “Prince and the Pauper” theme, Monte Carlo creates a bubbly, amusing film with the old stagecraft of mistaken identity and the multiple slamming doors that result. It also is a pretty decent travelogue, going from the sights of Paris to the titular city of Monte Carlo in expressive and awe-inspiring shots. It seems everyone had a great time on their working vacation.
Grace (Selena Gomez) is a dreamer, looking the shake the dust off the small-time Texas town she is currently residing in. Her mother Pam (Andie McDowell) is remarried and Grace has a shaky relationship with her stepsister, Meg (Leighton Meester). But two things are coming up roses for Grace, she is finally graduating high school and taking the long-saved-for trip to Paris.
There are a couple of complications. Her parents are not sure of the responsibility of her traveling companion and older friend Emma (Katie Cassidy), so they insist that Meg go along. This throws both Katie and Grace into a tizzy, for Meg is rather a stick in the mud (still mourning the mother who has past away). But despite all that, and over the protestations of Katie’s boyfriend Owen (Cory Monteith), the gang jets to Pareé and hooks up with a less than luxurious tour.
Even though the tour company is a bummer, Meg does lock eyes with a hunky Aussie (Luke Bracey) and the best is yet to come. It seems that Grace bears a striking resemblance to the Paris Hilton of Britain, Cordelia Winthrop Scott (Gomez again) and before you can say two-of-the-kind the Texas gals are being flown to Monte Carlo on a private jet, where through a series of complications Grace will stand in for the heiress. Can true love be far behind?
Photo credit: Larry Horricks for © Twentieth Century Fox