13 Going on 30

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 05/14/04 09:24:42

"Romantic comedy hits a new low, and my stomach bile hits a new high."
1 stars (Total Crap)

Good gravy, what are people thinking when they say that a film this patently awful is worth a ticket price? I honestly can not find a positive thing to say about my 13 Going on 30 experience, but to say that it wasn't three hours long. It's been said that 13 Going on 30 is funny - yet I did not laugh once. It's been said that Jennifer Garner has comedy timing - yet I did not laugh once. So what are you left with? A top notch 80's soundtrack? Not even close. In fact, this movie is so sloppy, so fraudulent, so without merit, moral and wit, that I'd suggest anyone who could recommend it as even passable needs to get out and see more quality movies.

A 13-year-old girl with a cliched lovestruck geeky neighbor is freaking out because she's not popular at school. She holds a party and invites all the cool kids, promising to do their report if they turn up, and once they get there she completely disses her only real friend, turns into a shrew of the highest order, and then wishes that she was 30 years old as 'wishdust' falls on her head.

From there on, it's a dumber, moral-free version of Tom Hanks' Big.

The 30-year-old version of this girl (played by man-beast Jennifer Garner) wakes up dating a hockey player, working as a top notch editor at a top notch national fashion magazine, and is surrounded by the same bitch queens she wanted to be hanging with in high school, only now she's one of them.

Cue 'stupid at every turn'.

This movie is one of those thrown together efforts using a thrown together screenplay, employing slumming actors of quality and stretching actors of incompetence, with the kind of soundtrack that someone who was never actually awake in the 80's might put together, and the kind of stolen storyline that feels no remorse at being borrowed from Big, Pretty Woman, Pretty in Pink and any other successful romantic comedy of the last twenty-five years.

It's the kind of film that makes Mark Ruffalo begrudgingly do the Thriller dance. It's the kind of film that thinks Jennifer Garner pulling a face is the height of comedy genius. It's the kind of film that anyone who has seen a GOOD romantic comedy wants to leave after twenty-five minutes.

I've heard people say how you just can't help but like Jennifer Garner in this film... well maybe that's true if you hold some deep-seeded man-fantasies, or like your women with cheekbones that could kill pedestrians on both sides of the street if they were allowed to hang out the window in city traffic. Seriously, were Garner's shoulders used as the model for Ang Lee's Hulk? That chick has the sort of guns that could rip the bark off a hardwood tree.

Of course, nobody involved in the production is working with screenplay gold, so perhaps we should be pointing the bone at the incompetents who are really responsible for this heinous cinematic crime - the writers, Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa. You might remember detesting them for their work on What Women Want, or perhaps their time spent lowering the bar of TV comedy on The King of Queens. Me? I'll forever remember them as the pair who took home a paycheck for one of the most cliched screenplays in living memory.

Remember when Pretty Woman was earning a hundred million dollars and Julia Roberts was being praised a comic genius and everybody seemed to ignore the fact that the movie was actually about a prostitute going shopping? Welcome to the same situation, only this time nobody is getting blown for cocaine - this time we're telling people that, if you're a total bitch for your entire life, a few days spent being nice will change everything... and if it doesn't, hell, there's always 'wishdust'.

Are you getting where I'm coming from yet? Should I go on about the plot holes and inconceivable coincidences, or do you already comprehend that this movie should be avoided like an Alabama penny-whore? Should I talk about the ridiculous 80's soundtrack, which seems to consist entirely of overplayed songs that were number ones in their day but have long since lost their relevance because they've been beaten to death by every lame ass time travel or 80's period film of the last ten years?

Should I talk about the hatred Jennifer Garner's character inspires in anyone who isn't fascinated by her booty? Should I discuss the shame obviously felt by Mark Ruffalo, as he shrugs and frowns his way through the entire film, clearly regretting taking the big money to appear in such a flaccid mess to the point where he can barely hide the fact? Should I... No, you get it.

Some people will laugh with this film, others will laugh AT it. Me? I just went home angered, realizing that in Hollywood today, nothing matters more than getting a film with a big star, that apes every film before it, finished, marketed, and ready for the dopes to line up out front. And if you're one of those dopes, congratulations on lowering the bar. Again.

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