“Being a kid is stupid. I’m moving on,” announces Ansiedad, a spunky teenager who decides to write her own coming-of-age story in the funny and heartbreaking new comedy, Girl in Progress.

Adapted from a screenplay written by Hiram Martinez, the latest film from Pantelion Films—the first major Latino Hollywood studio—opens just in time for Mother’s Day on Friday, May 11, 2012 and represents a new wave of cinema targeting the Hispanic movie-going population. But the film’s quirky, yet honest, take on serious issues many teens face when going through adolescence (or dealing with parents who still act like they are) makes it universally appealing for all audiences. 

Partly inspired by her English teacher at school (Patricia Arquette, TV’s Medium) who introduces the class to the concept of a “coming-of-age story” in literature, and partly fueled by her desire to grow up and distance herself from her immature, self-involved single mom (Eva Mendes, The Other Guys), Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) begins mapping out her growing-up story in a flowchart on her bedroom wall.

Best friend Tavita (Raini Rodriguez, Prom) is also helping out with the strategy, as they decide that Anisedad must transition from good to bad in order to quickly come of age. That begins with joining the chess club and winning some matches, followed by a total image makeover. Befriending the popular girl in school comes next so that Ansiedad, which interestingly enough means “anxiety” in Spanish, will then get invited to the wild parties which will then put her in closer proximity to the next major step in her transformative journey.

And sadly, that includes the young protagonist possibly losing her virginity. So the two friends plot for the teen to sleep with the most insensitive, “baddest” guy they can find. “It’s how we get our wings,” the usually sensible Ansiedad explains very matter-of-factly to Tavita. “So now, I’m free to fly and I hop on the bus to Adultville.” Only later will Ansiedad realize the true gravity of the steps she’s planned to speed up maturity in her misguided story.

Film director Patricia Riggen, who admits she also had a rebellious streak and conflict with her mother in her youth, believes that the PG-13-rated Girl in Progress—even with its mature thematic elements, including drinking and sexual content involving teenscan still do something good for its audience.

“I like movies about emotions, and Girl in Progress had the potential to be really funny and moving,” she explains. Every woman I know has a complicated relationship with her mother, including me! That’s what really drew me in.”

Still a relative newcomer in filmmaking, the forty-something’s first feature film, Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), earned a 15-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival), while her 2011 Disney TV movie, Lemonade Mouth, debuted last spring to very strong ratings.