Monica Mehta
May 02, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In Real Women Have Curves, bright, curvaceous teen Ana (America Ferrera) wants to go to college, but her overbearing mother (Lupe Ontiveros) is intent on keeping her working to provide for the family. Director Patricia Cardoso’s unique focus on the Mexican community of East L.A. provides a fresh take on a stale genre, the dysfunctional-female family drama. Instead of thin, emotionally void women, ”Curves” boasts well-rounded working-class gals who aren’t afraid to show their inner fuego. Besides, only real women could do that kind of a group strip scene.

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