Films/Theater Reviews — 09 May 2012
Girl in Progress: A Movie Review

In recent years, Eva Mendez has carved out her place amongst Hollywood’s elite as both a lead actress and an absolute knockout. This Friday, May 11th Eva Mendez makes her return to the big screen with the opening of “Girl in Progress” (PG-13).

Taking place in Seattle, the film follows the life of Grace (Eva Mendez) and her teenage daughter Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez). Grace is a single mother whose life is moving in a million different directions. At once she is caught between juggling her waitressing job, putting her daughter through private school, and having an affair with a married gynecologist (Matthew Modine). With their life generally in a state of chaos one way or another, Grace and Ansiedad manage to maintain an unspoken mother/daughter bond. However, amidst all the disarray, Grace probably didn’t count on Ansiedad having a coming of age revelation inspired by her English teacher, Ms. Armstrong (Patricia Arquette) and deciding to plan her shortcut to adulthood. Nevertheless, Grace is so caught up in the drama of her own life that she fails to recognize the drastic and irreparable steps that her daughter is taking in an effort to bypass her remaining childhood years. Not surprisingly though, it is Grace’s absentee parenting which ultimately bring the two together to confront what is going on in their lives.

There are certainly plenty of aspects in this film which ring true for any single mother who has hit a bump in the road or similarly, any teenager who struggles with the path toward adulthood. That being said, Cierra Ramirez plays the role of an intelligent yet sarcastic teenager wise beyond her years and in a rush to grow up, absolutely perfectly. While many of the issues Ansiedad deals with are very real, part of you can’t help but laughing at a wise ass teenager hurrying to become an adult and make a mad dash out of her mother’s house. Matthew Modine’s portrayal of Dr. Harford also deserves praise as he does a great job of playing the subtly scummy doctor who is cheating on his wife but of course has no intentions of leaving her.

Overall, “Girl in Progress” includes elements combining both comedy and drama. However, at the end of the day, it is nothing more than a feel good movie which caters largely to teenage girls. Other than being a somewhat predictable story, I think most moviegoers will be satisfied and get exactly what they’re looking for.

“Girl in Progress” is rated PG-13, starring Eva Mendez, Cierra Ramirez, and Patricia Arquette, has a runtime of 90 minutes, and is released in theaters everywhere on Friday, May 11th.

- Eugene Jerome

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