Nearly 80 years ago, Fox Studios invented that surefire movie formula, the three-girls-three adventure. It goes something like this: Take three young women of various temperaments (and/or hair colors). Send them on a mission (and/or to a destination) where they will learn about life (and/or one another) and find a partner (and/or the error of their ways).
Monte Carlo, a cheery teen comedy with Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, and Katie Cassidy, carries on the studio tradition that includes such classics as How to Marry a Millionaire, Three Coins in the Fountain, and Where the Boys Are. For girls of a certain age (and their mothers), Monte Carlo hits the sweet spot.
Grace (Gomez), a recent high school graduate, and Emma (Cassidy) are Texas hash-house waitresses who for a year have pooled their tips for a Paris vacation. As Emma is slightly older and wilder than Grace (and has a boyfriend, too, played by Cory Monteith of Glee), Grace's mom and stepdad designate Grace's older stepsister, Meg (Meester), to chaperone.
Even before the gals take off, tensions threaten to ground the trio. Uptight Meg, still grieving the loss of her mother, thinks Emma flighty and frivolous. Grace, unhappy that her mother has remarried, thinks Meg an interloper in her family and on her vacation. Emma, a good-time gal, thinks Grace insufficiently adventurous and Meg overly judgmental. After they land, Emma and Meg are frustrated that Grace has booked a budget tour with lousy accommodations and even lousier food. How do you say "hate triangle" in French?