out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
13 Going On 30
|*Also starring: ||Phil Reeves, Alex Black, Alexandra Kyle, Shana Dowdeswell, Jack Salvatore Jr., Kathy Baker, Joe Grifasi, Mary Pat Gleason, Merris Carden, Lynn Collins||
Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4
13 GOING ON 30, by TADPOLE's Gary Winick, should be a monster hit with tween
girls, but its story, which is something like a female BIG with Jennifer Garner
("Alias") taking the Tom Hanks role, should have wide appeal as did FREAKY
FRIDAY, another similar picture. The wonderfully likeable Garner gives a risk
taking performance in which she lets it all hang out, being silly, immature and
embarrassed as a 13-year-old girl who blinks and ends up, as she wished, as a
30-year-old. The good-spirited movie, filled with messages about the
consequence of not being yourself and not doing right by your best friends, is
one that you'll be glad to have your kids seeing. And you'll have a lot of fun
whether you take them or not.
The transformation starts in 1987 in the basement of just-turned-13 Jenna Rink,
played by Shana Dowdeswell and later by Garner. Jenna is an awkward girl with
braces and wadded up tissue paper for boobs. Her long-time best friend Matt
(played by Jack Salvatore Jr. and, when grown, by Mark Ruffalo) has been
counseling her to be herself, an original, and not like the school's catty
in-crowd of six golden girls. "I don't want to be original," she tells Matt
when he first suggests such a lame idea, "I want to be cool." The cool girls,
however, treat Jenna like dirt. Enter some magic "Wishing Dust," and Jenna
accidentally gets her wish to be just like the women in her favorite magazine
article, "Thirty, Flirty and Thriving."
Jenna awakens in a strange bed and with fully grown breasts. She is shocked by
her body, but not nearly as shocked as when her boyfriend comes out of the
bathroom and exposes his "thingee." "Gross!" she thinks. Jenna finds that
it's now 2004, and she's a 30-year-old magazine editor who has achieved great
success through some despicable means. She's sadly surprised to find that she
dumped Matt like he had leprosy soon after her 13th birthday. He's happily
unsuccessful and engaged to be married.
Unlike Jamie Lee Curtis in FREAKY FRIDAY, Garner is more cute than convincing,
but who cares. She'll charm the pants off of you. The "new" Jenna wows her
office and enlivens a party by getting the audience to dance like Michael
Jackson and crew did in his famous "Thriller" music video. Her coworker, Lucy
(Judy Greer), was one of the cool girls who used to harass her until Jenna
became one of them. Needless to say, Lucy is still evil.
The sweet, good-spirited film is a fun ride, full of good laughs. Parts of the
ending are a little dopey, and the movie drags a bit towards the end; but it
concludes both predictably and perfectly. As I said, take your kids if you
have some, and, if not, go yourself. You'll enjoy it.
13 GOING ON 30 runs 1:40. It is rated PG-13 for "some sexual content and brief
drug references" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.
Copyright © 2004 Steve Rhodes
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