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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 Laura Kyle

"Give in to the mainstream diagnosis, give up your clever mocking abilities."
4 stars

13 GOING ON 30, like its main character, grew from superficial and trite to earnest and endearing.

Thirteen-year-old Jenna Rink (Christa Allen) is an awkward angst-ridden outsider and her longing to become one of the cool kids overrides loyalties to dorky pal Matt Flamhaff (Sean Marquette). Compared to life as a 30-year-old, life as a 13-year-old kid sucks (so much for Toys R Us and Peter Pan). When enchanted dust fast forwards Jenna out of miserable adolescence, fulfilling her wish to be "thirty, flirty, and thriving," Jenna discovers she is now a spirited and beautiful magazine editor in the twenty first century, or more specifically: Jennifer Garner, and is colleague and friend to former junior high tormenter, Lucy (played very well by the skilled Judy Greer). But Matt is no where in sight and Jenna gradually learns that she hasn't just turned thirty but has also turned into the same girl who bullied her seventeen years earlier, or more specifically: a [insert curse word here].

As a female, by default, I drool over movies like this; I am not going to lie. I am the target audience. However, I believe 13 Going on Thirty asserts itself as a worthy contender for the chick flick hall of fame.

While Garner is a bit hard to stomach in the film's exposition as a thirteen-year-old trapped in the body of a thirty-year-old (she isn't nearly as impressive as Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday and is not a Big presence like Tom Hanks), she matures with her character, managing to give a sincere portrayal as a little girl trying on Mom's high-heeled shoes, and in the process, learning what life is all about. Considering this is Garner's first big screen leading role, she is entitled to a bit of mercy. If anything, she simply tried too hard. Ruffalo is expectedly charming and heartbreaking as Jenna's childhood buddy, Matt, all grown up. However, playing a character in a picture such as this is an unexpected, though very much welcomed, career move. He combines the charismatic and vulnerable qualities of his breakthrough performance as Terry in Kenneth Lonergan's unforgettable You Can Count on Me with a new dose of regular guy modesty for 13 Going on Thirty. He is an incredibly natural and generous actor and that is a good thing for star Garner. I don't think it is too bold to say that Ruffalo is an essential reason 13 Going on Thirty is so easy to fall for. Another notable highlight is Lord of the Ring's Smeagol/Gollum (whichever title you prefer), Andy Serkis, as Jenna's boss.

The cues to laugh usually work and it is impossible not to feel all giddy when 2004 Jenna leads everyone in a dance to Michael Jackson's classic 1983 hit "Thriller." And if I said I didn't get choked up in the film's climax, I would once again, be lying. Somehow, with Garner's passion and Ruffalo's appeal, the good-hearted effort of director Gary Winick is hard to criticize excessively. Admittedly, There are some curious and frustrating elements. Matt never truly questions Jenna's claims of being magically jetted into the future. Jenna is way too well adjusted to the life of a thirty-year-old to be even remotely believable. Tack on the fact that there is no original script or filmmaking at play here, it would be understandable for a critic to rip the film apart. But as you are whisked off into this utterly engaging and delightful tale, however predictable it may be, these flaws are easily forgiven. Still, while I would like to think that the honest theme of redemption found in childhood innocence, rather than Garner's pretty face accompanied by an entertaining and formulated yarn, is what really grabs the movie-goer, I think that probably is too bold to say.

13 GOING ON 30 is not surprisingly Winick's first Hollywood blockbuster and there are enough plot holes in the movie that you could probably grade cheese with it. But I recommend the picture for anyone looking for a refreshing and sizeable portion of amusing and touching cinema with sentimentality that is hard to mock. Not to mention, the fashion allusions to the 80's mixed with a modern touch are a visual spectacle in their own right and the soundtrack is certainly crowd-pleasing.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9268&reviewer=369
originally posted: 06/03/04 05:18:06
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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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