Monte Carlo

'Monte Carlo'
Directors: Thomas Bezucha
Rated: PG for brief mild language ("ass," "idiot," "frak," etc.)
Starring: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Cory Monteith
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Common Sense Media rating: 9+

Moviefone Mama Says: This is exactly the kind of modern-day fairytale that's irresistible for tween and young-teen girls. It's the equivalent of a soft-serve cone on a blazing summer day -- a quick little treat that momentarily hits the spot, even if it's not a particularly rich dessert. Who doesn't want the chance to pretend they're a jet-setting heiress with an amazing wardrobe and a hotel suite bigger than many suburban homes? As the identity-stealing Grace, Selena Gomez is predictably cute and bubbly, but she and her two traveling companions -- stick-in-the-mud stepsister Meg (Meester) and impetuous homecoming queen-turned-waitress Emma (Cassidy) -- have Serious Life Lessons to learn too. So if you want to see an inoffensive romantic fairytale starring three lovely and sparkly couples, this is dependably short and sweet.

Did You Know?: Selena Gomez was not only a child star who appeared on the popular preschool show 'Barney and Friends,' she reportedly even had her first kiss courtesy of Disney when she and Dylan Sprouse puckered up at age 12 for an episode of 'The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.'


'Monte Carlo' Trailer


Parent Concerns: This movie is relatively tame with just a few brief kisses, some champagne sipping (but the characters are of age), and some infrequent use of insults like the word "ass." Although living a luxurious lifestyle is shown as glamorous, there are some very unlikeable rich characters that prove money isn't everything.

Here are three talking points to extend your movie-going experience.

Monte Carlo poster1. Teen Wanderlust: Adolescents know about regular lust, but what this movie depicts is wanderlust, that overwhelming need to see the world and experience new cultures. Grace has spent her entire life hoping to visit Paris and climb the Eiffel Tower. Emma needs to leave the state of Texas. Meg wants to follow in her beloved mother's globe-hopping footsteps. Talk to your kids about where in the world they want to go.

2. Money Isn't Everything: Part of the movie's wish-fulfillment fantasy is that Grace, Emma and Meg get to wear Cordelia's fabulous designer clothes (Oscar de la Renta, Gucci, Chanel) and prance around Monaco while staying in a five-star suite. But, a couple of the rich characters portrayed in 'Monte Carlo' are huge jerks. So what's the message? Who is an exception to the wealthy but unhealthy stereotype?

3. Mistaken Identities: Movie history is full of tales about mistaken identities or doppelgangers who swap lives. It's a story premise that's so popular it pops up again and again. If you could pretend to be anyone you want for a week, what would you like to do, where would you like to travel? What are some of your favorite movies from this genre? I love 'The Parent Trap' (although they were twins) and grown-up "I'm not him!" flicks like 'North By Northwest.'


Three to See: Other Modern-Day Fairy Tales
1. 'Enchanted': Even the youngest of kids will love Disney's fantastic hybrid of animation and live-action that showed us all how magical Manhattan really is if you're falling in love.
2. 'Penelope': This quirky indie romance features Christina Ricci as the titular heroine, who has been cursed with pig's snout for a nose until James McAvoy proves she can be loved.
3. 'The Princess Diaries': Based on Meg Cabot's popular young-adult series, this adorable comedy stars a young Anne Hathaway as Mia, a quirky high schooler who's actually a princess.