Yeah, girl in progress features Eva Mendes as a really hot mom raising a teenage girl. Uh, yeah, it's easy to believe Mendes... perennially voted in the top twenty of every list as one of the hottest babes in the world... playing mom.


But actually, this works in a weird way. Because she plays Grace, easily one of the most irresponsible mothers ever to grace [no pun intended] the silver screen. She has two jobs; well one-and-a-half when you consider the second job involves bedding her boss!


She is raising Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez), which is the Spanish word for anxiety. And, Grace set a poor example of what it means to be a mother. Though she works and keeps the bills paid, she also maintains an illicit relationship with a doctor (Matthew Modine) for whom she is doubles as a housekeeper.

Okay, that is probably the most realistic part of the film. Seriously, if a guy had a housekeeper as hot as Eva Mendes... well!? [Note to Arnold Schwarzenegger - Grace is what a hot housekeeper looks like.]


Dr. Harford makes the usual shallow promises that he is going to leave his wife, etcetera, etcetera. But everyone knows he won't because his wife would clean him out [Note to Mark Sanford - this will remind you of the price of seeing the lovely Maria Belen Chapur on the side.]


Ansiedad decides to channel a coming of age story she learned in school into her own coming-of-age concept - complete with a scripted plot. An idea she passes on to her chubby friend Tavita (Raini Rodriguez); a good thing because it includes her public dissing her best and only friend!


The plan includes getting in good with the popular mean girls of the school. Then she disses her best friend in public - as discussed earlier. Then she befriends the school stud and lets him have his way with her in whatever demeaning fashion he decides. Then, she runs away to new york City to begin her life alone.

In other words, not too different from a boy's coming-of-age idea.


But as she begins her narrative - she has written this out like a story - things don't quite work out the way she planned. She brings her best friend to tears when it was suppose to be a wink and a nod.


And what of her mother? She misses it badly because she is busy working, paying bills and carrying on her relationship to notice Ansiedad behavior patterns. After all Ansiedad is a smart girl!


So we get back to the believability of the characters. As gorgeous as Mendes is, her character isn't believable and director Patricia Riggen never positions Grace as believ-

able. Nor does she position Ansiedad as a believable character. The only believable character we get are Modine's Dr. Harford and Raini Rodriguz as the best friend.


"Girl In Progress" should have definitely been better than it is. Mendes could never have pulled the Grace off, but is still great to look at. And that I'm afraid is this films only redeeming feature.   -- GEOFF BURTON