Friday, October 21, 2011

Monte Carlo Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Actress and pop sensation Selena Gomez (Ramona and Beezus, “Wizards of Waverly Place”) lights up the screen as Grace, a high-spirited high school graduate looking forward to a vacation in Paris with her best friend Emma (Katie Cassidy, “Melrose Place”), and stepsister Meg (Leighton Meester, “Gossip Girl”). Just as the girls think their trip is ruined when their hyperactive tour guide leaves them behind, Grace is mistaken for a wealthy socialite and the trio is whisked away to Monte Carlo for a thrilling week of glitz, glam, and unforgettable fun.  Monte Carlo features supporting performances by Cory Monteith (“Glee”), Pierre Boulanger (Monsieur Ibrahim), Luke Bracey (Home And Away), and Andie McDowell (Groundhog Day).

Film (3 out of 5 stars)

Monte Carlo is based on the novel "Headhunters" by Julie Bass which I learned from watching the special features.  I've never actually heard of the book before this but I may check it out at some point.  The story focuses on recent high school graduate, Grace (Selena Gomez) and her best friend Emma (Katie Cassidy) are looking forward to a vacation in Paris.  Grace's parents force her to bring older step sister Meg (Leighton Meester) along for supervision.

In Paris, the girls are left behind by their sightseeing group and stumble into a luxury hotel where Grace is mistaken for a wealthy socialite named Cordelia Winthrop Scott.  The girls run into Cordelia in the bathroom and overhear that she plans to bail on her hotel room, without checking out, and the rest of her immediate plans.  When everyone mistakenly believes that Grace is actually Cordelia, it’s very easy for her to start pretending that that's who she is.  All she needs is a British accent and she is quickly whisked away to Monte Carlo for a charity event.  It's a win-win situation for all of them since the real Cordelia gets to play hooky for a few days and the girls get the vacation they deserve.

The girls are hoping for a fun and easy vacation but of course it becomes more and more complicated since it turns out that Cordelia has many responsibilities.  In addition to that, all of the ladies meet handsome young men which further complicates things.  Emma's guy from back home has made the trip around the world to find out what's going on with her and why she isn't where she should be.  Add in a missing million dollar necklace that could expose their true identities, and things get pretty hectic.  In the end, some of the new loves seem like they will last and all of the girls have learned a lot and it seems as though Meg, most of all, will never be the same.

Video (4 out of 5 stars)

Monte Carlo is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 ratio.  Flesh tones are natural and black levels are good.  The colors are bright and vibrant and the warmth of Monte Carlo comes across well.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
Monte Carlo is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound.  The front channels were definitely favored over the rear.  I didn't feel as though the crowded Paris environment sounded very crowded, taking full advantage of the surround sound.  Dialogue was clear and consistent.

Special Features ( 4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

The special features are significant in both quantity and quality.  If you enjoyed the film, I definitely think the special features would definitely interest you.
  • Deleted Scenes - Multiple deleted scenes.  For once I wish they had included the last two - additional information about Cordelia's aunt and her plans to have Cordelia spend a summer on a farm.
  • Monte Carlo Match-up Interactive Quiz - Answer 10 questions to find out which Monte Carlo character you are most like.  I didn't enjoy this game, and most of all the sound effect after you answer each question.
  • Ding-Dang Delicious: The Boys of Monte Carlo - A featurette about the three main men in Monte Carlo - Owen, Teo and my favorite Riley.  
  • Monte Carlo Couture - A look at the fashion of Monte Carlo.
  • Jet Setter's Dreams - A featurette about all the locations of the film including Budapest, Paris, and Monte Carlo.
  • Backstage Pass - A behind the scenes look at Monte Carlo.
  • Gossip with the Girls - Katie Cassidy, Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester discuss making the film.
  • Theatrical Trailer - The theatrical trailer for Monte Carlo.
  • Sneak Peak - Million Moments - Clips from multiple movies for sale.
  • Digital Copy How To - Instructions for using the digital copy.
  • BD Live - BD Live Extras and Live Lookup powered by IMDb

Final Thoughts  (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

This movie wasn't necessarily my cup of tea, but I have no complaints and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.  Had I been a high school freshman I think this might have been one of my favorites.  All the actresses were good in their roles and the actors were hot.  The plot was a little lame and completely unbelievable but it’s still a fun movie.  I just think that the target audience is the tween scene and that I'm a little bit too old to fully appreciate the movie.  I did like Emma's theory on sexy and uncomfortable shoes - "If they ain't hurtin' they ain't helpin'!"

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