Charity Wins the Day
Release Date: July 01, 2011
Starring: Selena Gomez, Leighton
Meister, Katie Cassidy, Cory
Montieth, Andie Macdowell,
Catherine Tate, Pierre
Boulanger, Luke Bracey, Brett
Audience: Older children and adults
Runtime: 109 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox/News Corp.
Director: Thomas Bezucha
Executive Producer: Stan Wlodkowski, Deborah
Schindler, Forest Whitaker,
Producer: Arnon Milchan, Denise Di Novi,
Alison Greenspan, Nicole
Writer: Thomas Bezucha, April Blair,
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch, Chairman/CEO, News Corp.
Chase Carey, President/COO, News Corp.
Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, Chairmen/CEO, Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp. (Fox Searchlight Pictures/Fox Atomic/FoxFaith)
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
In the story, new high school graduate Grace Bennett has been saving for years to take a trip to Paris with her 21-year-old waitress friend, Emma. At the last minute, however, her mother and soon-to-be stepfather install her older and just as pretty, but stuffy, stepsister, Meg, as chaperone. The stepfather is also concerned that Meg has spent too long mourning her late mother, to the cost of Meg’s own well being.
Instead of being a dream vacation, the trip to Paris turns out to be a rushed tour of all the sites. In fact, their tour bus only gives them one quick glimpse of the top of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Eventually, the hurried tour leaves the girls stranded at the Eiffel Tower, and they have to walk back to their dingy hotel in the rain. To get dry, they step into a fancy hotel, where Grace is mistaken for British socialite Cordelia Winthrop Scott, her exact look-alike. Cordelia unexpectedly decides to leave, so Grace, Emma and Meg take advantage of sleeping in her room for the night.
The next morning, the hotel staff shuffles the girls off to Monte Carlo in Cordelia’s private jet, to attend a charity ball in Monte Carlo. There, Cordelia is supposed to give away an expensive necklace for auction, to help the Marchand Family Foundation’s charity establish more schools for poor children around the world.
Spoiled Cordelia has no intention of staying the whole week in Monte Carlo. So, again, Grace, Emma and Meg get to take advantage of the room and clothes waiting for the irresponsible, selfish heiress. With Cordelia’s beautiful accoutrements, Grace, Emma and Meg attract the attention of three young gentlemen. In fact, Grace attracts the attention of Theo, the young heir to the Marchand estate. Grace and Theo have much in common. They both feel out of place in their own environment, and they find things in the other person that they themselves lack.
Things get crazy again, however, when the real Cordelia unexpectedly arrives just before the charity auction. To make matters worse, the usually responsible Meg misplaces the fancy necklace needed to make the auction a success.
MONTE CARLO is almost like a reverse ROMAN HOLIDAY, the classic Gregory Peck-Audrey Hepburn movie where a hard-nosed journalist encounters a beautiful princess desperate to see the sites of Rome while traveling incognito. In this one, Grace and her companions are brought back to their senses by the needs of the poor children, who are the focus of the charity auction in the picture. In fact, Grace’s final speech about helping the children inspires the other characters; except, for the selfish, snooty and spoiled Cordelia, of course. Thus, all’s well that ends well in this apparent modern variation on Shakespeare’s comedies about mistaken identities.
Another bit of good news is the fact that all three of the romances in the movie are chaste, except for a couple kisses. Also, Emma discovers that her boyfriend back home, who tries proposing to her to stop her from going to Paris, is truly the one with whom she wants to spend the rest of her life.
All in all, therefore, MONTE CARLO is almost a wonderful diversion for all ages, except for the youngest of children. Though teenage girls are the ones most likely to enjoy the movie most, MONTE CARLO is charming enough and fun enough for others who might be dragged along to the movie theater, including males.
Though aimed at teenage girls, MONTE CARLO is fun enough and clean enough for practically everyone. It has a really nice ending, though the middle could use a bit more pizzazz. Despite the lying and subterfuge by the three heroines, they do the right thing when they realize their shenanigans could result in no charity going toward the poor children at all. Thus, all’s well that ends well in MONTE CARLO.