October 26, 2013

Girl in Progress (2012)

Eva Mendes, Matthew Modine, Patricia Arquette

Before I start to talk about the movie itself, I want to rant about Matthew Modine. For one thing, I often hear his name and think he is Matthew Morrison, which turns out to be highly disappointing when I see who it actually is (this is a personal problem, I realize). Secondly, Matthew Modine just looks like a douchebag. Seriously. Some actors will always be relegated to bad guy status; he's one of them. This movie is no different.

The movie itself is a pretty over-done story: an irresponsible parent/caregiver with an overly mature child who assumes the adult role in the relationship and all the problems that accompany that dynamic. But what makes this movie different (from say, Uptown Girls) is the approach the kid makes in changing this dynamic and the ability of this movie to find humor in what is actually a very tragic (and common) situation. (And, of course no Brittany Murphy and her insanely annoying voice. I know people get riled up when you say bad things about people who have passed, but come on there's no denying her voice was grating.)

As for Mendes, this role isn't a huge stretch from her usual "sexy" roles. She's still playing a rather shallow woman whose main attribute is her looks, but she does add some dimension to the character and it's nice to see an actress who can properly cry on screen. So bravo for that. (Because seriously, there is nothing worse than watching an ugly crier and/or someone who is unconvincing when they cry. It really saps a moment of its meaning.) 

The daughter does a great job in her role and I'm happy to see a movie with two Latina main characters hit the big screen, even if it only recouped half its production budget in ticket sales (ouch!). It may take some time, but between Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato on Disney and now movies like this, I have a feeling an explosion of Latina movie superstars are coming. Now if only we could find someone to carry the Asian torch for Lucy Liu...

Final word: A cute rework of the classic coming-of-age story.

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