Spoiler Alert: Girl in Progress Movie
Girl in Progress is the story of Ansiedad, an intelligent and good-looking teenager whose mom ignores her most of the time. Grace, her mom, instead fills her time waitressing at a restaurant and sleeping with a married gynecologist. Ansiedad goes to drastic measures to get her mom to notice her, and since this movie is advertised as a comedy, it is obvious that she will succeed. However, despite having a predictable ending, this movie strays from the formulaic conventions that comedies about teenagers usually have.
For one, this movie has a metaphysical vibe to it. Movies about rebellious daughters who want to be close with their parents usually involve scenes where the daughter hangs with the wrong crowd, fights with her loyal best friend, and fools around with the good-looking bad boy. Ansiedad also has these experiences, but what makes this movie unique is that she plans them out. After hearing her teacher talk about coming of age stories where characters have to have bad experiences in order to grow up, Ansiedad decides that she is too impatient to wait for these experiences to occur naturally. She plots to befriend the girl with the worst reputation at school, she tells her friend in advance that she plans on being mean to her, and she tries to seduce a guy who she knows will treat her like dirt. She plans her own demise with the hopes that like a phoenix she can rise from her decay and become transformed into a confidant and vibrant creature.
Although these types of movies are notorious for having generic side characters, Girl in Progress adds sprinkles of originality to the guys that show up in this film. Comedies have three types of males: The jerk who would probably sell his own mother’s kidneys to buy a new car, the saint who would sell his own kidneys to save the neighbor boy’s puppy, and the male who starts off the movie as a jerk, but after some heavy introspections and make out scenes, he becomes a saint. Girl in Progress has the archetypal jerk character; however, the saint character has some very real flaws and the jerk does not make a 180 change after he shows his good side.
Grace works with a man who is a diamond in the rough. He is a poor man who can’t read, but he saves the day during a restaurant emergency. Grace starts seeing him in a new light, and the movie viewer assumes that this will be Grace’s Prince Charming. That is until he commits a felony because of his love for Grace, and the movie viewer realizes that this man will not help Grace achieve her happy ending.
Ansiedad succeeds in getting a jerk interested in her. However, we find out that under his tough exterior, the reason he is mean and insensitive is because he wants to annoy his parents. In fact, he is the type of guy who will think twice, maybe even thrice, about sleeping with a virgin (especially one who obviously needs the help of a good psychologist). When this teenager is given the chance to show the fine quality of his character, peer pressure causes him to revert back to his jerk façade. Perhaps he feels bad about his actions, or maybe he decides it would have been idiotic to risk his bad boy reputation for Ansiedad; we never find out because he stops interacting with her.
The end, although predictable (not every movie can be a thriller with twists), is covered with drops of realism. Yes, Grace and Ansiedad have a great relationship at the end, but neither Grace nor Ansiedad have boyfriends. Movies in this genre usually tie up all the loose ends at the end of the movie, and it is refreshing to see a movie that veers from the norm. Yes, this movie has a sweet ending, but it is not sweet enough to push anyone into a diabetic coma.
Girl in Progress was able to give twists and realism to a coming of age story. Aside from straying from an overly predictable story line, this movie manages to squeeze in a few jokes and funny moments. I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants to have a few laughs and leave the theater in an uplifted mood (after all, despite being 3D, not everyone wants to watch the sinking of Titanic). What did you think of the movie?