The cast of “Monte Carlo” seems really nice. Not only does the movie, opened Friday (July 1), star some of the biggest young actors in the business — Selena Gomez, “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester and Cory Monteith of “Glee” fame — but the crew also got a chance to spend two months overseas shooting in some of the most spectacular places in the world.
Selena Gomez plays Grace, a graduating small-town high school Texas girl who dreams of Paris. That dream comes true, with a caveat: she and her fellow waitress friend Meg (Katie Cassidy) end up traveling with a late-addition third wheel, Grace’s scold of a stepsister (Leighton Meester).
The girls begin to find themselves (with the helps of these terribly attentive, sweet, undemanding and random men). Emma decides the only thing she really wants in life is Owen (Cory Monteith) and small town life in Texas, especially after Prince Domenico de Silvano (Giulio Berruti) shows his not so sensitive side to a waitress on a yacht.
Meg learns to let go, that it’s okay to be sad about the passing of her mother, and how to have a good time on the back of Riley’s (Luke Bracey) Vespa.
Grace charms the sarcastic, unhappy rich boy Theo (Pierre Boulanger), who is not nearly good looking enough to support his attitude, by being different than he expected Cordelia to be based on her reputation.
“It was fun both on- and off,” Meester said. “A lot of what was happening offscreen was just an extension of the fun we were having outside.”
The cast filmed in several locations, including France, Monaco and Hungary, which was a first for Gomez. “It was really cool to experience all those places for the first time,” Gomez said.
Out of all those places, the girls point to Paris as their favorite destination. “We got up in the Eiffel Tower,” Meester recalled. “But it wasn’t just go up for a trip, we got there all alone. It was just us at 5 a.m. when the sun was just rising. It was really beautiful.”
Gomez joked: “We rented out the Eiffel Tower, no big deal.” Yet, Gomez and Meester weren’t the only ones to take some offscreen adventures: Cory Monteith made sure to take full advantage of his downtime.
“I worked probably one out of five days in the shooting schedule,” Monteith said. “I have four days a week off, and I was able to roam around Europe, so I saw 10 countries a month. It was incredible.”
Director and cowriter Thomas Bezucha lacks visual panache, and in fact leaves most of the panache in general to composer Michael Giacchino’s swank and charming ditties and montage accompaniments. Still, the characters and the film grow on you.
Meester more or less steals it. She plays the character undergoing the most compelling transformation, and her comic touch is both deft and subtle. “Monte Carlo” is nothing much, but it leaves your soul uncrushed and this week, especially, it’s cause for a celebration-ette.
Corn-pone Cassidy’s big upscale dream, for example, is to live in a house with a dimmer switch. (She does everything but call a swimming pool “the cement pond.”) And they must not have fed the character actors, considering how much they chew the scenery.
But Meester is actually quietly lovely as the supposedly uptight stepsister. And Gomez is great — or, at least, half-great. Her cowgirl heroine doesn’t have much to her, but when the mistaken-identity plot requires her to play a bratty British heiress, she’s spot-on. [via MTV, NJ and Los Angeles Times]