Trials By Teenagers.
Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) trying to find a way out of the house. Inspired by a class lesson on “coming of age” stories Ansiedad decides that the quickest way to independence is to take an accelerated course through adolescence. The quicker Ansiedad becomes a woman, the sooner she can get away from her loopy mother.
It might be a bit farfetched to believe that a girl as smart as Ansiedad would truly dedicate herself to such a bizarre course of action. I mean, how on Earth could someone so sharp willingly put herself through a list of teen clichés believing that it will bring her closer to adulthood? Well, once we see Grace in all her glory it isn’t very hard to sympathize with Ansiedad’s efforts to bring some normalcy into her life. Even if those methods are pretty unorthodox. Changing Pavements: Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) and Tavita (Raini Rodriguez)
Grace isn’t a tyrannical or malevolent mother. She’s actually kind of cool. The problem is that she is too cool and Ansiedad needs a mother to pay attention to her and help her be the best woman she can be. Instead, she is stuck with a woman who evidently moves from place to place depending on who she is dating at the moment. Her latest romance has moved her to Washington (state not the District Of Columbia). To make things more outrageous Grace is dating a gynecologist (Matthew Modine). A married gynecologist with two kids. A gynecologist that employs Grace to clean his family home. And Grace openly flaunts her tawdry relationship in front of Ansiedad. As a fan of the legendary “britcom” Absolutely Fabulous I was very familiar with the scenario of a mature child living with an immature adult.
Eva Mendes has actually been doing okay. She was a lively love interest in Ghost Rider
(2007) and a capable femme fatal in The Spirit
(2008). When I hear Eva Mendes in a cast list I am quick to write her off as the “pretty girl” in the ensemble. In Girl In Progress
Eva is delightful even though her character is a mess for the majority of the film. She’s flakey and silly yet somehow manages to keep the rent paid, food in the fridge and Ansiedad’s education paid (or at least most of the tuition is paid). When she falls short I can’t completely chastise her and it does help that she is such a pretty lady. “Grace” isn’t a horrible mom but clearly a person who has reached a certain age and has yet to mentally catch up to that adult age that’s on her birthday cake.
Cierra Ramirez was pretty good as the headstrong “Ansiedad”. Ramirez effectively portrayed the girl as the typical high school heroine who is equal parts beauty and brains. And like the teenage heroines of old “Ansiedad” is put through the classic trials of teenage-dom including her first kiss, her descent into apathy and an awkward run with the “in-crowd”. The flip is that Ansiedad actively pursues these tired clichés under the delusion that she will attain womanhood by enduring these crazy trails. Part of the drama comes from the consequences of her journey which mostly results in Ansiedad alienating those who love her for who she truly is.
For me, the stand out of the film was Raini Rodriguez. Yes, she plays “Tavita”, the atypical chubby friend who is apparently so desperate for companionship that she assists Ansiedad with her crazy scheme. At first, Tavita, is a great comic foil adding levity with an off-beat comment or a zany facial expression. However, Tavita begins to become much more than comic relief when Ansiedad’s plan results in Tavita taking a substantial emotional hit. That turning point becomes the moment when Tavita becomes more than just the chubby pal. Worlds Apart: Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) and Grace (Eva Mendes)
There’s a good chance that Girl In Progress
will end up lost amongst the summer blockbusters. The film is a nice alternative for those looking for a decent yet not too simple story about a daughter in a hurry to grow up and a mother still living like a child. The ending is a tad too neat and there were some missed opportunities for some extremely dramatic moments. Still, the movie was a suitable experience and I don’t have “viewer’s remorse” after buying a ticket for it.
There is also the significance of the two leads being of Latin descent. Frankly, it was refreshing to see two Latinas leading a cast mostly made of Latino peoples in a story that many can relate to. Here's to hoping that Lionsgate and Pantelion has more Latino helmed films in the pipline. If you miss Girl In Progress
in theaters I encourage you to give it a shot when it hits the home circuit. Rhymes With: Easy A
(2010), Young Adult
(2009), My Sister’s Keeper
(2009), Whip It
(2009), Away We Go
(2009) Coming Soon: People Like Us
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http://ppllikeusmovie.com/ Step Up Evolution
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