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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

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.