More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 19%
Worth A Look39%
Average: 9%
Pretty Bad: 11%
Total Crap: 22%

7 reviews, 58 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Fugue by Jay Seaver

Aniara by Jay Seaver

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum by Jay Seaver

Long Day's Journey Into Night (2018) by Jay Seaver

Shadow by Jay Seaver

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché by Jay Seaver

Hustle, The by Peter Sobczynski

Detective Pikachu by Peter Sobczynski

Mope by Jay Seaver

Tone-Deaf by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

13 Going on 30
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"A Thirteen-Year-Old Who Loves Michael Jackson. Not TOO Creepy, Huh?"
1 stars

A friend leaned over to me during 13 Going On 30 to whisper something I’m sure he’d rather have shouted from the bottom of his lungs – “This movie is embarrassingly bad.” I promised him that I was going to start my review off with his words. Since we were only 40 minutes into the film (and at the “comic centerpiece”, no less), I figured it best to set my priorities, especially since none of them involved wanting to watch this disaster any longer.

One hopes that 13 Going On 30 doesn’t inspire the same kind of onslaught we saw in the great body-switching armada of 1987-88 (Like Father, Like Son, Vice Versa, 18 Again and Big). Then again, it was only nine months ago that the remake of Freaky Friday was delivered so maybe it’s way too late. The good news is that we could complete the “come-in-threes” plotline with Michael Jackson getting into the body of a 13-year old and it would be a marked improvement over this.

Young Jenna Rink doesn’t pronounce a desire to switch places with someone for a day nor does she wish to be big. (Both are interesting scenarios for porn plots, though.) She just wants to be a member of the in-crowd, formatted here as the “six chicks”, your typical Heathers-like clique. Jenna is apparently so unpopular that the only people she bothers to invite to her birthday party are the aforementioned sextet and her best friend, Matt, the chubby kid whose interests include photography, Razzles and Jenna.

After a round of "Seven Minutes In Heaven" goes awry…oh wait…not familiar with that game? Innocently it’s that blindfolded closet kissing game. As described by the “six chicks” leader, you place someone in the dark and the boy gets “to do whatever they want to you.” A character later humorously refers to the game as “spin the rapist,” which is not only the most disturbing of encapsulations but also the film’s best joke.

Anyway, the six chicks ditch Jenna in the closet to go get beer, things go wrong (thankfully not in the date rape variety) and soon she is sprayed with wishing dust, pulling a Rip Van Winkle and wakes up 17 years later in the body of Jennifer Garner. Many Alias fans I’m sure have had that same wish. My apologies for recirculating jokes, but if a film you have to pay $9 for can do it, two jokes for free (even of the same concept) is a better average than you’ll receive with this.

The film’s trailer was basically nothing more than a string of “icky gross boys” jokes. Rather odd considering Jenna was ready to take a come-what-may approach with the school hottie in the closet, but this is the essential ingenuity of the script’s premise. It’s all they had. Recycle the hand-raising joke from Big here and talk about her amazing boobs there and we’re stuck in the same screenplay dead zone that befell us the last time we watched a Cathy Yuspa/Josh Goldsmith credit called What Women Want.

Secretary: “We need a decision about Eminem.”
Jenna: “Plain….um…peanut.

Yeah, it’s that kind of bad. Go through the lost-love-of-your-youth motions all you want with the older Matt (Mark Ruffalo) but don’t forget your oh-so-humorous premise. Where the accentuated harshness of the film, Thirteen, was co-written by a thirteen year-old, here is a film that I believe was actually created by people who never were thirteen and have no idea what a grown-up is either. Director Gary Winick who also directed Sundance’s overrated sensation, Tadpole, clearly slept through or forgot some crucial years himself since he hasn’t a clue about adolescence or burgeoning adulthood. You've got no script, so you might as well take an Austin Powers approach to Jenna’s lost time in this world. Wouldn’t it be great to see her reaction to her youthful music choices of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston becoming the biggest freak in the world and a coked-out battered wife by 2004?

And speaking of music choices, I’d like whoever was responsible for the soundtrack of this movie to stand front-and-center cause you should never be allowed to touch or hear music ever again. For one, when designing the tracklist to set your film’s emotions to, it’s usually a good idea not to overplay like your typical Top 40 station. In other words, don’t use three songs in the film twice. The Go-Go’s “Head Over Heels” is heard twice in the first half-hour. Rick Springfield’s "Jessie’s Girl" gets doubled up and used not nearly as creatively as in Boogie Nights. And Liz Phair’s “Why Can’t I?” (last heard in Mandy Moore’s How To Deal) is quickly showing up wherever Michelle Branch’s "Breathe" can’t.

How about Jenna and a room full of 13-year old slumber partiers singing to the “hookers-rally-against-the-pimps” music video of Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield”? What mother allows her child a 30-year woman over for a sleepover? And “Ice Ice Baby”? SERIOUSLY? Just because the character who dances to it is a hockey player doesn’t make it right. Exactly how many problems does that make with the film’s music choices?

OK, and what’s with the "Thriller"? Popular and required collecting in 1983, but by 1987 Michael Jackson got around to that "Bad" follow-up. Consequently you are braindead if you believe that a party room full of young magazine hotshots in 2004 would not only be happy to hear Thriller but manage to remember the exact dance moves of the zombies from the music video? Garner, instead, seems to be channeling the Bill Cosby dance right down to his facial expressions in what is the film’s aforementioned “comic centerpiece.”

Oh, but the film is taking us for zombies anyway at every turn. It’s the kind of insulting that has us believe a magazine editor would scoop stories to a rival mag and then leave the pile of thank-you letters sitting in her desk. Which means the other editor was stupid enough to SEND thank yous for corporate espionage to her office or she was moronic enough to bring them in from home. God knows, a thirteen-year-old would have more sense. But that age is too sophisticated for dreck like this.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/23/04 14:52:28
[printer] printer-friendly format  
This film is available for download or online viewing at For more in the series, click here.

User Comments

11/01/14 David Hollingsworth A non-cliched charming, and sweet romantic comedy 5 stars
12/14/13 PuUlITrSiRogyBnrCD svtNpqdAzaHPNBZ 2 stars
12/12/13 FsPNavNaGsOcv vvSKxiHemYhnB 3 stars
3/18/13 Mireya cute and entertaining 4 stars
6/07/11 art CUTE STORY,however the main draw to this is JENIFER GARNERS FACE and HER REAR-END! 4 stars
7/21/09 Howard E Davis I think it's a sweet, funny, entertaining comedy 5 stars
5/13/09 art JENNIFER GARNER is a pretty sight,but not this drievel! 1 stars
10/19/08 Nick Somoski On older movie already, but I loved! I still watch my DVD of it now and then! 4 stars
9/26/08 Annie G Cute and weak. Plot has been done better in other films, but still an ok film. 3 stars
8/25/08 ANKIT AWSOME FLICK !! BRAVO 5 stars
6/15/07 Danielle Ophelia One tool of the vast conspiracy to siphon out what intelligence the public has. AVOID! 1 stars
5/28/07 none ya it was so hotttttttttt 5 stars
11/18/06 Lys gôd film 5 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 4 stars
11/05/06 cody a good comedy with a charming perf. by jennifer, but it kinded like clueless meets big. 3 stars
9/15/06 Mayrisha This movie brought a smile and a tear to my face. 4 stars
7/14/06 Stanley Thai A very good film. It's funny and has some sweet scenes. 4 stars
2/07/06 Anthony A very good chick flick, i enjoyed it 4 stars
8/31/05 ES Lest we forget Jen's amazing little number with the chopsticks in her hair, what a film 4 stars
4/19/05 Brig. Gen. Ripper Any movie that brings back Thriller is alright in my book 4 stars
3/28/05 Emma I thought that this was a really good film. 5 stars
12/15/04 keithers.. I remembering seeing this movie...i think it was call BIG though with tom Hanks 1 stars
10/31/04 oranges_888 Mark Ruffalo sucked ass and couldn't pull it off - he so totally was miscast 4 stars
10/01/04 Pat A wonderful movie; I watched it over and over again. 5 stars
9/26/04 Lindsay It F***** sucked 1 stars
9/20/04 angel the movie was funny, well written, but the ending was terrible! too neatly wound up 3 stars
9/19/04 Fernando R. Mdza Que tal, me gusto bastante el papel de Jennifer Garner y Mark Ruffalo excelente!! 5 stars
9/15/04 random* yes it's trite, typical romcom- yet somehow still charming, what can I say 4 stars
8/31/04 samantha wasnt like I thought 1 stars
8/26/04 S.F. Ghastly.trite shit. u get fed up of watching a film thats so mundane. 1 stars
8/23/04 Jim A treasure. A delightful fable to the end. 5 stars
8/14/04 Uncle Phucker Garner is a great physical comic actor. But suprisingly great story with heart. 5 stars
8/04/04 ownerofdajoint JENNIFER IS DELECTABLE.ALIAS FANS CHECK HER OUT!! 4 stars
7/30/04 M Cute as!! 80's inspired bubble gum movie! 4 stars
7/29/04 Kathryn It was a lot of fun to watch 5 stars
7/28/04 Jenna Furr Jennifer G feigns shit-don't-stink innocence while advocating Pat Benatar-style ballbusting 2 stars
7/23/04 syd worth it just for Mark Rufallo - what can I say, but I'm shallow! 3 stars
7/19/04 Valerie Very cute movie. Kind of a 'girly' version of "Big". 4 stars
7/11/04 Crystal M. IT WAS GREAT..when does it come out? 5 stars
7/05/04 Brian C0urtney Garner's performance is awful and embarrassing to watch 2 stars
6/17/04 Anna ! shows some things 13 yr. olds have to deal with in life thru highschool and Jr. high 5 stars
6/10/04 Amy I thought it was excellent and has an uplifting message. 5 stars
6/03/04 Shaun I can't seem to overlook the fact that this movie was already made, it's called "Big"!!!! 2 stars
6/03/04 Elizabeth While a rather recycled story, it gets by on Jennifer Garner's charm. 3 stars
5/27/04 kristina i loved the movie so much i saw it 3 times and ill see it more times if the offer come sup! 5 stars
5/18/04 MC Reminded me of Big, enough said. 5 stars
5/16/04 JAJansenJr Five stars for a film that is entertaining, uplifting and affirms good values 5 stars
5/13/04 jamie i love this movie jennifer garner was so funny 5 stars
5/13/04 Me This movie was already made it was called "Jack" 1 stars
5/11/04 malcolm the music was definitely more '84 than 87. jennifer garner in a slip? i'll take it. 3 stars
5/04/04 Brenda Loved the message of 2nd chances, true to self 4 stars
4/29/04 Katie Verbeke I thought this moving was rocked! 5 stars
4/28/04 Joe Stupid, Shallow And Did I Mention Pointless 1 stars
4/27/04 Mitchua Michael Jackson music+30 y/o having slumber parties with kid=deal for Jackson music rights 3 stars
4/26/04 Christina She's better as an ass-kicker. BIG ripoff, nuff said. 1 stars
4/23/04 Ray Garner is fun, but the movie is not 2 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  23-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2006



Directed by
  Gary Winick

Written by
  Josh Goldsmith
  Cathy Yuspa

  Jennifer Garner
  Mark Ruffalo
  Kathy Baker
  Judy Greer
  Andy Serkis
  Samuel Ball

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast