If you went to the movie theaters this summer, you might have heard about Girl In Progress, because really that is the only time I heard anyone ever talk about it. I think I saw the preview for the movie maybe seven times in a single month. SEVEN TIMES. So as you can see, watching this movie as soon as possible was a priority, because damn it, I wanted to know what the trailer kept teasing at me.
Huh, I wonder if this picture is a metaphor.
Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) is just a girl, who kind of hates her position in life. She at least gets to go to a private school, but her mom Grace (Eva Mendes) is having problems paying for it. Grace works a few jobs, including house cleaning for a Dr. Harford (Matthew Modine) and waitressing at a local crab shop. Their relationship is pretty strained, because Ansiedad feels her mom spends all her time working or sleeping with married men (Yep, the doctor) and not enough time just being a good mom.
But (and we are about to get super meta here), when she starts to learn about a genre of novels that tell of coming of age stories, she makes it her desire to have her own “coming of age” story, so she can become and adult and fix her situation in a flash. With her only real friend (Raini Rodriguez) they develop a list of tasks that most occur in order to have the appropriate experience. Everything is on that list, from first awkward kiss to virginity loss, to changing her lifestyle from nerd to badass (including intentionally losing her old friends), to hopefully moving out of her home and escaping to NYC!
While at the same time, Grace’s life is getting more stressful, as she is put in charge of the restaurant while her boss is at a festival. On top of that, Dr. Harford is willing to elope and take their family far away from the area. Sounds sweet, but can easily backfire. But all of these stresses make it harder to see the changes her daughter is going through, until her teacher (Patricia Arquette) is able to point them out.
Additionally, a middle aged hispanic individual nicknamed Mission Impossible (Eugenio Derbez) is a part of both of their lives, and might be willing to fix there situation at any cost.
The real star of the movie. Anyone else think he looks like a Hispanic Matt Berry?
So what happens when you get a coming of age movie, about a girl attempting to create her own coming of age story? Well, it could either go amazingly well, or amazingly bad as far as I can tell, and I think this film falls on the latter. I wouldn’t describe any of the main cast performances as bad, but it actually just felt like they didn’t care.
That Eugenio? He was excellent. A lot of it might have just been in his facial expressions, but he is really the only person who made me enjoy the film. Although the film itself is about character growth, it felt fake or forced the growth that occurred. Arguably, a forced growth in a movie about forced growth could also be intentional, but I doubt the creativity of the director in this case.
For a hilarious read, I suggest the outline on wikipedia of the plot. If anything, it makes my writing look awesome, so clearly checking it out only leads to positives!
1 out of 4.