13 Going On 30

"Very Good"

13 Going On 30 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.



13 Going On 30

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd April 2004

Box Office USA: $56.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $96.5M

Budget: $37M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Revolution Studios, Thirteen Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 104 Rotten: 58

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jenna Rink, as Matt Flamhaff, as Lucy Wyman, as Richard Kneeland, Christa Brittany Allen as Young Jenna, as Young Matt, as Six Chick, as Tracy Hansen, as Wendy, as Becky, Alexandra Kyle as Young Tom-Tom, Alex Black as Young Chris Grandy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.