It’s at this juncture of the story where your suspension of disbelief must kick into overdrive. After overhearing that Cordelia is ditching her Paris hotel suite and her hosting duties at a children’s charity event, the girls decide to have the “vacation they deserve” by having Grace pose as Cordelia.

While a bit reluctant at first, it’s a 25-pound lobster and plushy new digs that eventually win Grace over, and before long, the girls are enjoying the spoils of the five-star life, including the paparazzi following their every move.

Much like Carrie Bradshaw and her fellow Sex in the City pals, minus the sex, these young women are immediately transported to a world of sparkly couture gowns (magically, the girls are all the same size as Cordelia), Bvlgari jewels and handsome suitors who conveniently pop out of nowhere and are instantly smitten with them. Trouble is, it’s a little difficult watching Grace, Emma and Meg (who’ve become BFFs practically overnight, natch) play dress-up when you know that Grace’s true identity could be exposed at any minute.

While there are a few notable (yet thoroughly predictable) life lessons tucked in with all the cotton-candy escapism, namely that money can’t buy happiness and giving to those less fortunate is important, what’s probably the most troubling about Monte Carlo is that the consequences for lying again and again are practically non-existent.

Truth be told, Grace’s actions don’t harm anyone physically (although I’m guessing that assuming someone else’s identity might have a few pesky legal ramifications), but after one ridiculously convenient plot twist after another plays out in Grace’s favor, you can’t help wondering why the screenwriters didn’t see this as an opportunity for her to learn the value of honesty.

If anything, Monte Carlo could’ve been a powerful story of how our expectations sometimes don’t match up with reality, but you inevitably learn something about yourself in the process anyway. But here in fairy tale land, such lofty takeaway value is non-existent since apparently, getting the guy is the only primary concern—a shame considering just how impressionable the target audience is.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: None of the girls drink (in fact, they pass up glasses of champagne at the charity ball), but there’s some social drinking depicted.
  • Language/Profanity: A singular use of as-, an instance where sh-- is almost said.
  • Sex/Nudity: Kissing, but no full-on makeout sessions or sex. Two of the girls wear bikinis at the beach. By story’s end, Meg continues traveling alone with the guy she just met in Paris (her parents inform her that they don’t need the “details” of what happens while they’re gone).
  • Violence: None.
  • Morals: Although it’s established that Grace, Emma and Meg are basically good girls with good hearts, they aren’t above lying in the name of adventure. The entire story is basically crafted around a big deception that doesn’t end up having many negative consequences in the end. But there are a few themes that dig deeper, namely that money and prestige aren’t everything and that all people (even the servers at a glamorous party) deserve to be treated with respect.

 

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.