Monte Carlo is a 2011 American adventure-romantic comedy film based on Headhunters by Jules Bass. It was directed by Thomas Bezucha. Denise Di Novi, Alison Greenspan, Nicole Kidman, and Arnon Milchan produced the film for Fox 2000 Pictures and Regency Enterprises. It began production in Harghita, Romania on May 5, 2010. Monte Carlo stars Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy as three friends posing as wealthy socialites in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The film was released on July 1, 2011. It features the song "Who Says" by Selena Gomez & the Scene and numerous songs by British singer Mika. Monte Carlo received mixed reviews from critics, and earned over $39 million on a $20 million budget. Fox Home Entertainment released Monte Carlo on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on October 18, 2011.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Grace Bennett (Selena Gomez) is a New York University bound, Texas high-school student who works as a waitress with her best friend, high school dropout Emma Perkins (Katie Cassidy) to earn money for a trip to Paris after graduation. Grace's stepfather pays for her uptight older stepsister Meg Kelly (Leighton Meester) to come with them on the trip. Emma goes to Paris despite her boyfriend Owen's (Cory Monteith) proposal of marriage. The trip quickly proves to be a disappointment-they have been ripped off with a cramped hotel room and a tour that moves too fast for anyone to properly appreciate anything. After being left behind by their tour guide, the three girls seek refuge from the rain in a posh hotel. There, the hotel staff and paparazzi mistake Grace for the spoiled 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 three girls spend the night in Cordelia's suite, and the next day fly to Monte Carlo with Cordelia's luggage, despite Meg's misgivings.
At Monte Carlo the girls meet Theo Marchand (Pierre Boulanger), the son of the philanthropist hosting Cordelia. Theo is cold towards the three, because he dislikes Cordelia's spoiled brat nature, but he escorts them to a ball, where Grace successfully fools Cordelia's aunt Alicia (Catherine Tate) and Emma dances with a prince (Giulio Berruti). Meg reunites with Riley (Luke Bracey), an Australian backpacker and ex-rugby player 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 that Grace is a lookalike, hired by Cordelia 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 up for the party in the Bulgari auction necklace but meets Meg on the way, and Meg takes it for safekeeping, but later forgets about it, accidentally leaving it in Riley's backpack. At the party, Emma is disillusioned by the prince's obnoxious nature and snideness and arrogance towards 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 Cordelia being forced to move in a ranch, Meg joining Riley on his travels around the world; Owen and Emma moving into their own home in Texas; and Theo and Grace reuniting at the Romanian school where the former works and the latter volunteers at.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Selena Gomez as Grace Bennett/Cordelia Winthrop-Scott
- Leighton Meester as Meg Kelly
- Katie Cassidy as Emma Perkins
- Cory Monteith as Owen Andrews
- Pierre Boulanger as Theo Marchand
- Luke Bracey as Riley
- Catherine Tate as Alicia Winthrop-Scott
- Andie MacDowell as Pamela Bennett
- Brett Cullen as Robert Kelly
- Giulio Berruti as Prince Domenico Da Silvano
- Valérie Lemercier as Madame Valerie
- Franck de Lapersonne as Grand Belle's Manager
- Jeremiah Sullivan as Bartender 2
Production[edit | edit source]
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 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 made his English-speaking feature debut in the film.
Soundtrack[edit | edit source]
The film's musical score was composed by Michael Giacchino. To coincide with the film's release, a soundtrack album was released by Varèse Sarabande on June 28, 2011.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Critical response[edit | edit source]
Monte Carlo received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 40% based on 93 reviews. The website's consensus states "Although it has its charming moments, Monte Carlo is mostly silly, predictable stuff that never pushes beyond the boundaries of formula." At Metacritic the film received a score of 43 out of 100 based on reviews from 23 critics indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Ben Sachs of the Chicago Reader wrote 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".