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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
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by Jason Whyte

"I'm going to hell...I liked this movie."
4 stars

Before I begin, I would like to mention this: I love film. I'm as serious as a film buff as can be, devouring movies from different eras, directors and countries. And that includes the monstrosities that Hollywood regurgitates out of their depots many a year. Countless unoriginal, uninspired works that neither challenge or entertain the viewer. And then there are some films that come out of that same machine that still work despite their flaws. For some odd reason, I emerged from a recent screening of "13 Going on 30" entertained and pleased. Even surprised.

Director Gary Winick ("Tadpole") won't stand alongside such comedic auteurs like Billy Wilder, Blake Edwards or Woody Allen, but this film is what it is: a likable romantic comedy that has an irresistable appeal and a commanding performance by its lead, Jennifer Garner. If she wasn't already a well-respected actress best known for her work as Sydney Bristow on the TV-series "Alias", I'd say this would make her a star. This certainly shows her versatility.

But more about the movie. It begins in the late 1980's. When we first meet Jenna Rink at 13 (played by Garner look-alike Christa B. Allen), she's not a popular girl at her school. Bullied around by girls her age and only finding solace in her friend Matt (played as a kid by Jack Salvatore Jr.), she wishes she could be older. Her wish arrives on her birthday when Matt gives her a dream house and a package of wishing dust as a present. She makes the wish, it works, and suddenly Jenna (now played by Garner) wakes up to find herself 30 years old in the year of 2004.

Jenna is suddenly a fish-out-of-water. Slowly realizing that beautiful woman in the mirror is actually her, that guy in the bathroom is her boyfriend, that thing ringing in her pocket is a cell phone, and her job is a magazine editor, Jenna realizes that wishing dust actually worked. But what of Matt? When she finally tracks him down (Matt is played as an adult by Mark Ruffalo) he's in the same city and working as a photographer, and she is quick to notice that they haven't spoken since the day that she made the wish.

Much of the film rests on how Garner, playing a kid trapped in an adult's body, handles the situations. She's absolutely wonderful playing against her Alias-type performance and creating an interesting and original character in Jenna Rink. It's a lot of fun watching her simply act like a kid in the big city; one of the film's funniest moments is when she tries to hail a cab and just stands on the side of the street, at normal voice: "Uhm, excuse me? Cab?" I must also make mention of the splendid use of 1980's music in the movie as well...Pat Benetar, Michael Jackson and Rick Springfield tunes are here, and while the soundtrack isn't at the level of something like the recent "The Girl Next Door", the mere shot of a video of "Jesse's Girl" made me laugh out loud.

I will admit that this isn't an original idea, but it takes the formula of a kid wishing to be older, something we've all thought about when we were a kid, and it runs with it. The 1988 hit "Big", about a 12 year old who suddenly found himself as Tom Hanks, worked with this premise, and it works here too. One of the biggest differences from "Big" is the romantic story that develops between Jenna and Matt, even though the movie just has to supply both Jenna and Matt with respective lovemates that simply get ignored towards the end. Garner and Ruffalo have enough chemistry; it would be nice just to see the two of them fall in love without prior attachments!

Hey, what can I say. I saw "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" just before watching this, and that's a brilliant film in its own right. It will have a position on my year end list. "13 Going On 30" won't make my list, nor anyone's, but through all of it's funny writing, Jennifer Garner's terrific work, the fun soundtrack, the likable supporting performances and no fart jokes to be found, and despite all of the flaws that really only matter if you look closer than you should ... I liked it anyway.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9268&reviewer=350
originally posted: 04/23/04 13:51:43
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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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