** 1/2 (TWO AND A HALF STARS)
A small-town girl from Texas graduates high school and finally gets to travel on her dream vacation to Paris, with her best friend and her step-sister, who she doesn’t like right now, but we already know that they’ll have “a moment” and work it all out before the credits roll. There are exotic locales, beautiful shots of the cities and scenery, unbelievable characters, unbelievable situations, “girl time”, three Prince Charmings (this is an equal opportunity film), and the ol’ Switcheroo. It’s flippant and flighty, but it was also kinda fun.
The acting is nothing to be astounded by, nor is the script that we all knew the ending to less than halfway through the movie. But like Midnight in Paris from earlier this year, Monte Carlo asks you to forget about the particulars and come along for the vacation, enjoy the sights, get lost in the cities and vistas. Of course, Midnight in Paris had one character for us to link our feelings to, and this film has three, so the movie has to do a balancing act of story lines towards the end of the movie; any character development is replaced with the girls scrambling around, trying to figure out how to fix everything they’ve messed up!
Although Selena Gomez is billed as the main character, you could almost say this film is more about her step-sister, played by Leighton Meester. Her character has real struggles, and a past that she is working to overcome. She is probably the most intriguing character, and makes the other two seem relatively drama-less.
In the end, everyone gets the guy that they are “supposed” to get, the ones the movie thinks we’ll be happy with. I agreed with two of their choices, but one of the girls gets a guy I’m not so sure about. He was a bit of a jerk the last time they met, but I guess she forgot.
Oh well, at least Justin Bieber didn’t show up.