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Overall Rating
3.22

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

7 reviews, 58 user ratings


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13 Going on 30
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Jennifer Garner could charm a buzzard off a crap-wagon."
4 stars

"I want to look like THOSE people," 13-year-old Jenna Rink says, pointing to the pictures in a fashion magazine called Poise. "Oh, those aren't people, honey," her mother replies. "Those are models."

Ah, wisdom. Thus begins "13 Going on 30," a sweet, unassuming little comedy about girl power and self-esteem that has the impish Jennifer Garner to lead the way.

We start in 1987. Jenna (played at 13 by Christa B. Allen) is an average, self-doubting girl whose best friend is a tubby boy named Matt (Sean Marquette). She wishes her best friends were the Six Chicks, a band of pretty girls led by uber-snob Lucy (Alexandra Kyle). They have the traditional arrangement: Jenna does their homework for them, and they kind of pretend to sort of be nice to her sometimes.

After a particularly humiliating run-in with the Six Chicks at her 13th birthday party, Jenna wishes with great fervor that she were 30; she chooses that age because of the Poise article that talked about being "thirty, flirty and thriving." She wakes up the next morning to find herself fast-forwarded 17 years to 2004, where she's a successful 30-year-old editor of Poise magazine, and best friends with the once-envied Lucy (Judy Greer). She has no memory of the intervening 17 years, and her friends and co-workers wonder why all of a sudden Jenna is acting like a 13-year-old. Somehow, she has skipped ahead.

She's played by Jennifer Garner now, of course, and Garner's youthful enthusiasm in the role is absolutely contagious. She has young features -- accompanied by an angular face and square, mannish shoulders, but that's beside the point -- and she bubbles with the zeal of a girl who has suddenly found that all her dreams have come true.

Jenna looks up Matt (Mark Ruffalo) and is alarmed to learn they drifted away shortly after that fateful birthday party. What's more, he's engaged, though perhaps you saw that coming.

More unsettling realizations await Jenna, but I will only hint at them here. Basically, she must discover HOW, exactly, her dreams all came true, and what sort of person she became in the process.

I mention the introspection because it's wholly unusual for a film based on a fantasy premise to even suggest that a character look within herself, much less for her to be shocked by the results. Most films would let Jenna become princess of the world, give her a mild complication with Matt, let them overcome it, and send them on their merry way. This one, directed by Gary Winick ("Tadpole"), sends us through much more interesting terrain on our way to the happy ending.

I like the scene where Jenna's magazine is hosting a party, which is turning out to be a dud. Still mired in 1987, she gets the DJ to spin Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and soon everyone is dancing. Not only is this one of filmdom's few spontaneous dance sequences that actually make sense -- it's entirely plausible that a group of 30-somethings would, in fact, know the dance moves from the "Thriller" video -- but it has the added humor of underscoring Jenna's 1987 innocence in a 2004 world. She has no idea, after all, that Michael Jackson's music is played solely for camp value nowadays.

(That scene also gives us a chance to see Andy Serkis -- Gollum himself -- moonwalk as Jenna's boss.)

Written by "What Women Want's" Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith, with polishing by Niels Mueller ("Tadpole"), the story uses both the kid-in-a-grown-up's-body premise and the person-from-the-past-thrust-into-the-present premise without overdoing either of them. Jenna's confusion in the modern world is limited mostly to being frightened by cell phones, and I was grateful not to see a crazy shopping spree once Jenna realized she was an adult now. (We've all seen "Big"; we get it.)

The trouble with it all is that it runs out of steam by the end, and introduces an unnecessary subplot involving a Lucy-sponsored backstabbing to boot. Garner and the goofily likable Ruffalo's chemistry is satisfactory, but it can't hold the movie together when it's collapsing on itself. That said, it's a pleasant surprise that the movie holds up as well as it does for as long as it does. Jennifer Garner might have a future as a big-screen star.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9268&reviewer=247
originally posted: 04/24/04 13:19:28
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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
1/21/10 art JENNIFER GARNER"S FACE AND BODY,ARE the ONLY REASON TO WATCH THIS GARBAGE! 1 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
11/05/08 PAUL SHORTT ENGAGING AND SWEET BUT PREDICTABLE 3 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 gd 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 amazing...it 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Sep-2004


Directed by
  Gary Winick

Written by
  Josh Goldsmith
  Cathy Yuspa

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



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