13 Going On 30 Movie Review

If 13 Going On 30 had feet, they'd never touch the ground. The effervescent retro romance opens with the jingly strokes of an '80s pop synthesizer and races through the best of Rick Springfield ("Jesse's Girl"), Michael Jackson ("Thriller"), and The Go-Go's ("Head Over Heels") in five minutes flat. Either you're tapping your feet right now or running for the hills. The toe-tappers, obviously, will have a better time at this one.

In 1987, gawky teen Jenna can't see the girl-next-door beauty that exists beyond her braces. She keeps best friend Matty - her pudgy and unbearably sweet admirer - at arm's length. After a major disappointment involving a rigged game of "Seven Minutes in Heaven" at her 13th birthday party, Jenna makes a fateful wish to be older. With the help of some potent fairy dust, 13-year-old Jenna becomes 30-year-old Jenna (Garner), a Manhattan magazine editor pushing copy for Poise, a struggling fashion rag.

Comparisons to Penny Marshall's adolescent fantasy Big are inevitable but misguided. 30 more closely resembles a Choose Your Own Adventure book, where one small decision can affect the story's ultimate outcome. Jenna's spontaneous wish actually alters her past, so when she seeks out and finds a grown-up Matty (Mark Ruffalo), his memories show how the two friends drifted apart after she opted for the popular crowd. Their troubles can be traced back to that fateful birthday party, which gives Jenna a reference point when she seeks to set things right.

30 solidifies the talented and charming Garner as a major Hollywood star. Alias fans are aware of the gangly but glamorous actress' physical ability, though they may be surprised at how casually she transitions over to physical comedy. Garner also manages a natural sweetness that sells Jenna's inherent adolescence, and her wide-mouthed grin wipes the grime off of the simplistic script.

Regardless of what they were paid, Garner and Ruffalo deserve a raise. These two never stop working to sell this saccharine-soaked material, and their efforts are aided by an enthusiastic Andy Serkis and nasty Judy Greer. Don't ask me how, but 30 rises above both a cast-wide "Thriller" dance sequence and an awkward gag where Jenna hits on a 12-year-old. Insert Wacko Jacko joke here.

Effortless and adorable, 30 is a lovable New York romance with the right amount of whimsy and magic. It made me smile through and through, even as obvious plot questions picked at my brain and unrealistic problems stacked up like cars on the interstate during rush hour. 30 might not stay with me longer than a week or two, but it certainly was fun while it lasted.

Might check for an extra shoulder pad while you're at it, Jen.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Starring : , , , , Christa B. Allen

Comments

13 Going On 30 Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG-13, 2004

Advertisement

More Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner Joking Reveals She And Ben Affleck Have "Sexy Polaroids"

Just because Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck may seem old fashioned doesn't mean their marriage isn't exciting! Although we live in a digital age, the...

Men, Women & Children Trailer

One group of very different people - including popular high school teens and their less popular peers, and a married couple struggling in their relationship...

Jennifer Garner Wears Loose Clothes, Sparks Pregnancy Rumours

The public’s fascination with famous women’s bodies was taken to an alarming degree this week, when a rumour began circling that Jennifer Garner was pregnant...

Ben Affleck And Jennifer Garner Celebrate Anniversary With Old-School Romance

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner celebrated their nine year anniversary in Detroit on Sunday (29th June). The Hollywood couple have been spending time in the...

Advertisement

It Seems Ben Affleck Doesn't Like Mark Ruffalo Very Much

Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner, who played best friends turned lovers in the 2004 comedy 13 Going On 30, are no longer buddies. According to...

Mark Ruffalo Cites Jennifer Garner's Husband, Ben Affleck, As Reason Behind Losing Touch

Mark Ruffalo has discussed his lost friendship with his 13 Going On 30 co-star Jennifer Garner whilst appearing on a US talk show on Thursday...

Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Trailer

Alexander is an 11-year-old boy who experiences a series of disastrous events in just one day, from waking up with chewing gum stuck in his...

MPTF's Night Before The Oscars Pulling Out Of Partnership With Beverly Hills Hotel

In recent years, besides the glamour, celebrities and red carpet fashion at the Oscars, the show’s ethics have also been put into the spotlight. This...

Advertisement