Grace Bennett (Selena Gomez) is a Texas high-school student who works as a waitress with her best friend Emma Perkins (Katie Cassidy) to earn money for a trip to Paris after graduation. Grace's stepfather pays for her stepsister Meg Kelly (Leighton Meester) to come with them on the trip. Emma goes to Paris despite her boyfriend Owen's proposal of marriage. The trip proves to be a disappointment, with a cramped hotel room and a too-fast tour. After being left behind by their tour guide, the three girls seek refuge from the rain in a posh hotel. There, the hotel staff and paparazzi mistake Grace for celebutante British heiress Cordelia Winthrop-Scott, Grace's double, who leaves rather than stay to attend an auction for a Romanian charity for which she is to donate an expensive Bulgari necklace. The three girls spend the night in Cordelia's suite, and the next day fly to Monte Carlo with Cordelia's luggage, despite Meg's misgivings.
At Monte Carlo the girls meet Theo Marchand, the son of the philanthropist hosting Cordelia. Theo dislikes Cordelia's spoiled nature but escorts them to a ball, where Grace successfully fools Cordelia's aunt Alicia and Emma dances with a prince. Meg reunites with Riley, an Australian backpacker she briefly met in Paris. They find they have things in common, and spend time together before he leaves for Italy. When Grace has to take part in a game of polo, Alicia discovers the impersonation because of Grace's different riding style. Alicia believes that Grace is a lookalike, hired by Cordelia to take her place while she parties, but in order not to endanger the charity auction she agrees to keep silent. Theo is attracted to "Cordelia's" frank personality, while Emma's prince invites her to a party on a yacht. Emma dresses up for the party in the Bulgari auction necklace but meets Meg on the way, and Meg takes it for safekeeping, but later forgets it in Riley's backpack. Emma is disillusioned at the party by the prince's arrogance toward the waitresses.
Owen arrives in Monte Carlo in search of Emma. So does Cordelia, and she sees the newspaper account of Grace's appearance at the ball. She finds that the necklace is missing and calls the police. The girls have gone in search of Riley but he shows up at the hotel with the necklace; they find Cordelia in the room. When Cordelia threatens to call and withdraw the necklace from the auction, the girls panic and tackle her to the couch. When people come to the door, they muffle her screams and Grace covers for them. They then tie her to a chair and gag her by stuffing an apple in her mouth so Grace can take her place at the auction. Cordelia escapes, and reveals Grace's fraud at the auction. She demands that Grace be arrested, but after Grace's sincere public confession Alicia bids the unexpectedly large amount of €6 million for the necklace to save her. The film ends with Cordelia being forced to move in a ranch, Meg joining Riley on his travel around the world; Owen and Emma moving into their own home in Texas; and Theo Marchand and Grace reuniting at the Romanian school where they are volunteering.Selena Gomez as Grace Bennett / Cordelia Winthrop Scott
Leighton Meester as Meg Kelly
Katie Cassidy as Emma Perkins
Cory Monteith as Owen Andrews
Pierre Boulanger as Theo Marchand
Luke Bracey as Riley
Catherine Tate as Alicia Winthrop Scott
Andie MacDowell as Pamela Bennett
Brett Cullen as Robert Kelly
Giulio Berruti as Prince Domenico Da Silvano
Franck de la Personne as Grand Belle's Manager
Jeremiah Sullivan as Bartender 2
Monte Carlo is loosely based on the novel Headhunters by Jules Bass. The novel tells the story of four young Texas women who pretend to be wealthy heiresses while searching for rich potential husbands in Monte Carlo. There, they meet four gigolos posing as wealthy playboys. Fox bought the film rights to the novel in 1999, three years prior to the novel's publication. In 2005, Hollywood trade magazine Variety announced that siblings Jez and John Henry Butterworth would be writing the script. It also reported that actress Nicole Kidman had signed on to play the lead as well as produce the film with Rick Schwartz.
The Butterworths were later fired and Tom Bezucha was hired to direct and co-write Monte Carlo. Bezucha and Maria Maggenti turned in a draft of the screenplay by July 2007; it starred Kidman as "one of three Midwestern schoolteachers who decide to ditch a disappointing no-frills holiday in Paris and pose as wealthy women vacationing in Monaco". However, in 2010, executives had the film rewritten again after deciding that the film should be made more youthful. The updated script was co-written by Bezucha and April Blair, and changed the three school teachers to two college students and a recent high-school graduate. Monte Carlo was shot in Budapest, Hungary; Dunakeszi, Hungary; Paris, France; Harghita, Romania; and Monte Carlo, Monaco. It began filming in Harghita on May 5, 2010, and wrapped on July 7, 2010. It is the first film to use the film studio, Raleigh Studios Budapest.
In March 2010, it was announced that Selena Gomez had been cast as one of the film's leads following the script's rewrite. For the role, Gomez spent several weeks learning to play polo, and practicing how to fake an English accent. Leighton Meester also negotiated a deal to one of the leads that month, and Katie Cassidy was cast as Emma in April. French actor Pierre Boulanger made his English-speaking feature debut in the film.
Monte Carlo received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 52% based on 91 reviews. The website's consensus states "Although it has its charming moments, Monte Carlo is mostly silly, predictable stuff that never pushes beyond the boundaries of formula." At Metacritic the film received a score of 53/100 based on reviews from 23 critics indicating "mixed or average reviews.
Ben Sachs of the Chicago Reader claimed that "the movie hits a surprising range of emotional grace notes, including several moments of genuine regret, and concludes with an understated moral lesson about the value of self-respect over social status." Sandie Chen of Common Sense Media said the film was "silly, but sweet". It was released in France on August 24, 2011.
Fox Home Entertainment released Monte Carlo on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on October 18, 2011. The DVD extras include deleted scenes, a feature titled "Ding Dang Delicious: The Boys of Monte Carlo", a "Backstage Pass" and a theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray Disc features all the DVD features plus the addition of "Monte Carlo Couture", "Jet Setter's Dream", "Gossip with the Girls" and a digital copy of the film.
The film's musical score was composed by Michael Giacchino. To coincide with the film's release, a soundtrack album was released by Varèse Sarabande on June 28, 2011.
- "Graceful Exit"
- "What Mom Would Have Wanted"
- "It's Not Magic"
- "Feeling Eiffel"
- "Grace Under Pressure"
- "Mirror Coincidence"
- "The Seduction of Paris"
- "Along for the Ride"
- "Seizing the Moment"
- "The Full Monte Carlo"
- "One Suite Deal"
- "Junk in the Trunks"
- "Ball In"
- "Pairing Up"
- "A Little Horse (s'il vous) Play"
- "Of Another Color"
- "Dressing Up and Dressing Down"
- "Jazz Cafe"
- "Staying Classy"
- "Hotel Keys"
- "You're Goin' Places, Kid"
- "Chasing Emma"
- "Have a Nice Trip"
- "Cordelia Arrives"
- "Cordelia's Not So Suite"
- "Time to Go"
- "Missing Links"
- "Return Engagement"
- "Protection and (Room) Service"
- "Just Stay Here"
- "I Don't Want to Lose You"
- "It's Too Much"
- "Just a Regular Girl"
- "Almost Everyone Is Happy"
- "Separate Ways"
- "Grace Be with You"
- "Of Another Color" (extended version)
- "Making Light"
- "Grace's Theme"