Girl In Progress

ACTING OUT Eva Mendes and Cierra Ramirez in Girl in Progress

ACTING OUT Eva Mendes and Cierra Ramirez in Girl in Progress (Bob Akester)


Girl in Progress

Genre: Comedy; Starring: Eva Mendes; Director: Patricia Riggen; Runtime (in minutes): 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Pantelion Films

Told by a different storyteller — perhaps in a movie with subtitles and scenes in a Balkan café — Girl in Progress would qualify as a tragedy, a horror story, an upsetting drama of child abuse. Here’s the cautionary tale of an overworked teenaged girl (Cierra Ramirez), neglected by her self-absorbed, single, working-class mother (Eva Mendes), who embarks on a self-destructive plan to speed up her journey to adulthood and escape her mother’s chaotic house. Were this movie given the Romanian New Wave narrative treatment, it might win a prize.

But spiced up with commercial-grade Latin-American content (including a scene or two of warm, Spanish-speaking familia time) and starring the glamorous, likable, and marketable Cuban-American Mendes in a pretend attempt at looking haggard, this inauthentic teen tale, with its cosmetically softened edges, serves neither the young people nor the Mendes fans for whom it might be intended. There’s a particularly bum message about the lives of blue-collar women in the subplot involving Mama’s affair with the husband (Matthew Modine) of a woman whose house she cleans. Apparently, marital betrayal is the price of employing someone so pretty in the low, if honorable, job of cleaning toilets. D

Originally posted May 11 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT

More from Our Partners