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Review: Girl in Progress

Patricia Riggen's adolescent dramedy
By BRETT MICHEL  |  May 15, 2012
1.0 1.0 Stars

As coming-of-age movies go, Easy A this ain't. No, Patricia Riggen's adolescent dramedy would have required sharper insights than those found in the screenplay by Hiram Martinez. As it stands, it gets a D for an overly literal device that finds teenaged Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) re-enacting coming-of-age tropes ("Dump Best Friend," "Lose Virginity," etc.) being taught by her English teacher, Mrs. Armstrong (Patricia Arquette), each of which makes the purportedly bright student seem ever more dim. Ansiedad can't wait to escape her neglectful mother, Grace (Eva Mendes), a high-school dropout who cleans house for her married lover (Matthew Modine) when not waiting tables in one of those only-in-the-movies roles that expects audiences to buy a radiant movie star (whose vital beauty is un-transformed here) as tired hired help. "Don't make any sweeping proclamations," Mrs. Armstrong instructs her class, just as a montage of climactic moments defies this advice. As rites of passage go, Girl in Progress is a step backward for the genre.

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