|“||I think that what's exciting about Monte Carlo is it's presented in contrast to all of those films. I feel like it's going to be a fun movie for girlfriends to go to with their moms. It's a sweet simple movie. It never gets too loud! If anything, I'm doing it for all of my girls.||”|
– Selena in an interview with AMC
|Directed by||Thomas Bezucha|
Denise Di Novi|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Release date||July 1, 2011|
|Running time||109 minutes|
Monte Carlo is an 2011 American romantic comedy film directed by Tom Bezucha. Nicole Kidman, Denise Di Novi, Arnon Milchan and Alison Greenspan produced the film for Fox 2000 Pictures and Regency Enterprises. It began production in Budapest on May 5, 2010. It was rated PG for the film's mild coarse language.
Grace Bennett (Selena Gomez) is a Texas high-school student who works as a waitress with her best friend Emma Perkins (Katie Cassidy) to earn money for a trip to Paris after graduation. Grace's stepfather pays for her stepsister Meg Kelly (Leighton Meester) to come with them on the trip. Emma goes to Paris despite her boyfriend Owen's proposal of marriage. After being left behind by their tour guide, the three girls seek refuge from the Paris rain in a posh hotel. There, the hotel staff and paparazzi mistake Grace for celebutante British heiress Cordelia Winthrop-Scott, Grace's double, who leaves rather than stay to attend an auction for a Romanian charity for which she is to donate an expensive Bulgari necklace. The Americans spend the night in Cordelia's suite, and the next day fly to Monte Carlo with Cordelia's luggage.
At Monte Carlo the girls meet Theo Marchand, the son of the philanthropist hosting Cordelia. Theo dislikes Cordelia's spoiled nature but escorts them to a ball, where Grace successfully fools Cordelia's aunt Alicia and Emma dances with a prince. Meg reunites with Riley, an Australian backpacker she briefly met in Paris. They find they have things in common, and spend time together before he leaves for Italy. When Grace has to take part in a game of polo, Alicia discovers the impersonation because of Grace's different riding style. Alicia believes her niece has hired a lookalike to take her place while she parties, but in order not to endanger the charity auction she agrees to keep silent. Theo is attracted to "Cordelia's" frank personality, while Emma's prince invites her to a party on a yacht. Emma dresses for the party in Cordelia's necklace but meets Meg on the way, and Meg takes it for safekeeping, but later forgets it in Riley's backpack. Emma is disillusioned at the party by the prince's arrogance toward the waitresses.
Owen arrives in Monte Carlo in search of Emma. So does Cordelia, and she sees the newspaper account of Grace's appearance at the ball. She finds that the necklace is missing and calls the police. The girls have gone in search of Riley but he shows up at the hotel with the necklace; they find Cordelia in the room. When Cordelia threatens to call and withdraw the necklace from the auction, the girls panic and tackle her to the couch. When people come to the door, they muffle her screams and Grace covers for them. They then tie her to a chair and gag her by stuffing an apple in her mouth so Grace can take her place at the auction. Cordelia escapes, and reveals Grace's fraud at the auction. She demands that Grace be arrested, but after Grace's sincere public confession Alicia bids the unexpectedly large amount of €6 million for the necklace to save her. The film ends with Meg joining Riley on his travel around the world; Owen and Emma moving into their own home in Texas; and Theo Marchand and Grace reuniting at the Romanian school where they are volunteering.
Before they get the chance to reveal their true identities, they are wrapped up in misadventures during a vacation to Monte Carlo instead.
Monte Carlo is loosely based on the novel Headhunters by Jules Bass. The novel tells the story of four young Texas women who pretend to be wealthy heiresses while searching for rich potential husbands in Monte Carlo. There, they meet four gigolos posing as wealthy playboys. Fox bought the film rights to the novel in 1999, three years prior to the novel's publication. In 2005, Hollywood trade magazine Variety announced that siblings Jez and John Henry Butterworth would be writing the script. It also reported that actress Nicole Kidman had signed on to play the lead as well as produce the film with Rick Schwartz.
The Butterworths were later fired and Tom Bezucha was hired to direct and co-write Monte Carlo. Bezucha and Maria Maggenti turned in a draft of the screenplay by July 2007; it starred Kidman as "one of three Midwestern schoolteachers who decide to ditch a disappointing no-frills holiday in Paris and pose as wealthy women vacationing in Monaco". However, in 2010, executives had the film rewritten again after deciding that the film should be made more youthful. The updated script was co-written by Bezucha and April Blair, and changed the three school teachers to two college students and a recent high-school graduate. Monte Carlo was shot in Budapest, Hungary, Dunakeszi, Hungary, Paris, France, Harghita, Romania and Monte Carlo, Monaco. It began filming in Harghita, Romania on May 5, 2010, and wrapped on July 7, 2010. It is the first film to use the film studio, Raleigh Studios Budapest.
In March 2010, it was announced that Selena Gomez had been cast as one of the film's leads following the script's rewrite. For the role, Gomez spent several weeks learning to play polo, and practicing how to fake an English accent. Leighton Meester also negotiated a deal to one of the leads that month, and Katie Cassidy was cast as Emma in April. French actor Pierre Boulanger is made his English-speaking feature debut in the film.
Monte Carlo has received negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 38% of 88 reviews were positive, as well as a 43 metascore at Metacritic. Ben Sachs of Chicago Reader claimed that "the movie hits a surprising range of emotional grace notes, including several moments of genuine regret, and concludes with an understated moral lesson about the value of self-respect over social status." Sandie Chen of Common Sense Media said the film was "silly, but sweet."
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