** (out of four)
When a Parisian vacation goes terribly, it’s nothing a little well-intentioned fraud can’t fix. Proof: Recent Texas high school grad Grace (Selena Gomez) and her bickering travel companions (Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy) indulge in high society once Grace impersonates a snotty British heiress (also played by Gomez) who looks a lot like her. As in, exactly like her.
The buzz: Ooh la la, the girls are romanced by athletes and royalty as they work to maintain their ruse as long as possible. Which unfolds with about as much energy and surprise as snafus like being left behind by the bus or causing a power outage when trying to use a Parisian outlet.
The verdict: It’s an insult to call Gomez the next Miley Cyrus since, uh, Gomez actually has talent and screen presence. She acquits herself nicely in a role that unfortunately asks little of her but “switch back and forth between an American and a British accent.” Grace’s only defining characteristic is her niceness, while her British doppelganger Cordelia is selfish and rude, and there you have it. If big band music and sitcom-level misunderstandings translated into legit zaniness, then “Monte Carlo” would be just delightful. Mostly, these characters are all dressed up with nothing notable to do.
Did you know? Owen (Cory Monteith) is presented as a small-town mechanic with not much going for him, yet it’s no trouble at all for him to head to Paris on short notice to win back his girlfriend (Cassidy). Awesome, flights to France are available on the cheap!
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