Title: Monte Carlo
Author: Fox 2000
Genre: Romance, drama
My Rating: ****
Official Rating: PG
Age Group: 14+
My Summary -
Grace has been looking forward to a trip to Paris ever since she started highschool - she's been saving every penny she can toward traveling, and now that she's graduated, she and her friend, Emma, can finally go.
But her mother and step-father throw a wrench into her plans... Meg, Grace's bitter, incredibly responsible step-sister, is going to go along to keep them from trouble. And things go from bad to unbearable when they get to Paris and discover that the tour of the city Grace picked out is the worst in existence.
Frustrated and worn out, Grace storms into a high-end hotel to find some peace - and instead finds her identical twin. Only this twin is unbelievably rich, British and snobby.
Emma immediately sees the advantages in the situation, and the three girls from Texas ship themselves off to Monte Carlo to host a charity event and have some fun in place of Grace's twin (who has ditched the event to have some fun of her own).
They lie their way through a whole week in Monte Carlo, putting up rich-girl acts for several handsome men and the rest of the city, but when a multi-million dollar necklace goes missing on their watch, the girls find themselves in way more trouble than they bargained for.
The Bad -
Meg and Grace have an absolutely horrible relationship at the beginning of the movie, which mostly stems from Meg's bitterness after the death of her mother. This bitterness causes many arguments between the step-sisters. Emma and Meg also clash repeatedly because of Meg's stodginess and Emma's light-heartedness.
Emma's character can basically be summed up with two words: party girl. While we don't receive too many details about her past, we do know that she dropped out of high-school and spent most of her time partying (in a not-so-good way). Her clothing choices are consistently immodest (though Grace also wears a bikini), and Meg makes a snarky remark about them.
Emma abandons her faithful boyfriend (who has offered her marriage) to go to Paris and have fun. She wants to be rich and famous, and takes a lot of pleasure in their situation at Monte Carlo.
The whole movie revolves around the fact that the girls lie and steal their way to Monte Carlo. While they eventually realize how idiotic their decisions are, the issue is never fully addressed.
Cordelia, Grace's twin, is disrespectful to everyone around her. We hear conversations she has on the telephone, which mostly revolve around her own unhappiness and how she plans to escape her duties.
When the girls try to research Cordelia's life, they find out about the many scandals surrounding her. We don't hear anything specific, however.
While the movie limits itself to flirting and kissing, we see a lot of both. Emma tends to be the most inappropriate, openly admiring men. Grace and Meg both fall for guys whom they kiss. The romances seem pure, but Meg and her guy spend a night in Monte Carlo and don't return until morning. We see them doing (relatively) innocent activities. They eventually run off together to travel the world, and we don't find out if they marry or not.
Grace makes a comment about Cordelia having "a little more going on upstairs" as she's trying on the other girl's clothes.
Swearwords are limited to one a**, one substitute for the f-word, and one crude signal meaning "kiss my a**".
Through her experiences in Monte Carlo, Meg finally learns to be a little bit more loose and have fun. Her relationships with both Grace and Emma improve hugely, and they become really good friends.
Emma eventually discovers that she doesn't need a fancy home or lots of money to be happy; all she really wants is her boyfriend, Owen.
Owen, in an awesome display of coolness, decides to travel all the way to Paris, then Monte Carlo, when he discovers that Emma is in some sort of trouble.
Grace finally realizes by the end of the movie that lying, even for a good cause, can completely destroy everything she values. She almost destroys the happiness of hundreds of children, who are the object of the charity that Cordelia is supposed to help, and the guy she's fallen for abandons her after learning who she really is. She apologizes publicly, along with Meg and Emma, for the mess she's created.
My Thoughts -
For a chick-flick, Monte Carlo wasn't too bad. What I really liked about it was that the focus wasn't really on the romances, but on the girl's relationships with each other. They go from almost constantly bickering to have a really deep friendship.
Granted, being "not too bad" still isn't the same as being "good". Like all romantic comedies, there's just enough unnecessary "stuff" to push this movie toward the dark end of a PG rating. That, and the fact that the whole movie revolves around a lie, made me a bit less thrilled about Monte Carlo in general.
Despite the problems it presents, it is overall a light-hearted story that left me feeling fluffy and happy. Which is basically the essential function of chick-flick. :)
Note: I recommended this for ages 14+. This might be a bit on the strict side; I have younger (11 - 12ish) siblings who've watched it with adult supervision. I definitely recommend that parents watch it first before giving it to a younger tween, however.