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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19%
Worth A Look39%
Just Average: 9%
Pretty Crappy: 11%
Sucks: 22%

7 reviews, 58 user ratings

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13 Going on 30
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by Jay Seaver

"Charm just can't overcome a creepy premise."
2 stars

There's an interesting idea for a movie in here, but it's not the one that the filmmakers wound up going with. I am trying not to be hypocritical here, for I know that I have on a number of occasions called people unreasonable for running down a movie (or other form of entertainment) for not being what they thought it should be, as opposed to recognizing what it is. That said, I couldn't help but wonder, as I watched 13 Going On 30, what an interesting story it would be if, instead of being a story about a 13-year-old girl who magically became her older self, it was a story about a 30-year-old woman who suffers some sort of breakdown and regresses to her more innocent self. Up until the end, it almost could be that, although there's really no reason to assume that the movie is close to being that clever.

Still, that does bring up a weird and uncomfortable question - when Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) seeks out her childhood best friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) and spills the beans about how she just seems to have skipped over seventeen years of her life, why is his immediate reaction not something along the lines of "this girl is mentally ill"? The same when she starts having slumber parties with her neighbors' kids. I get that she doesn't really have any close friends who would worry about her personality basically suddenly reversing itself, and that her boyfriend is too self-centered to really care beyond his not getting any. Still, it demonstrates the limits of suspension of disbelief: I will accept that something clearly impossible, like a 13-year-old girl waking up 30 because of some magic wishing powder, without question, but will have difficulty when characters don't react to the fantasy elements in a believable way. Sprinkle in a few plot holes, bland characters, and a good deal of uncomfortable but not really sharp humor, and the movie has to get by on charm alone.

Admittedly, it has charm in spades; it's very tough to come up short in that category with Garner and Ruffalo front and center. The latter brings his usual scruffy sensitivity, while Garner is this close to winning the Eddie Murphy-in-The Nutty Professor Award for a great performance in a bad movie. One scene showing the adult Jenna for contrast to the childlike one probably would have clinched it. I'm not altogether certain I completely believe the way she plays her mentally-thirteen-year-old character, since thirteen year-olds seem awfully sophisticated today (compare 13 Going On 30 with last year's Thirteen), at least on the surface, but, hey, I was thirteen in 1987 and figure most of the people I knew were more kid than adult, so maybe it really is "those kids today". Still, Garner's performance seems much more childish than that of Christa B. Allen, the actual kid who plays Jenna at 13 (and an amazingly good likeness for Ms. Garner). Sadly, most of the rest of the cast is pretty awful.

I will give director Gary Winick some credit; he manages a couple good scenes toward the end, including one of the best 15-year-cuts in recent memory. He also seems to really be enjoying shooting in 35mm with bold colors - watching many of the films from his InDigEnt production company (including his awful Sam The Man) can be a painful experience; I've grumbled about his murky, digital-video productions before.

Unfortunately, the script gives him and the actors very little to make a good movie with, and in the end what's worth watching is basically what the two stars bring to the movie, and not the movie itself.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9268&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/02/04 00:56:16
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User Comments

10/31/14 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
3/17/13 Mireya cute and entertaining 4 stars
6/06/11 art CUTE STORY,however the main draw to this is JENIFER GARNERS FACE and HER REAR-END! 4 stars
7/20/09 Howard E Davis I think it's a sweet, funny, entertaining comedy 5 stars
5/12/09 art JENNIFER GARNER is a pretty sight,but not this drievel! 1 stars
10/18/08 Nick Somoski On older movie already, but I loved! I still watch my DVD of it now and then! 4 stars
9/25/08 Annie G Cute and weak. Plot has been done better in other films, but still an ok film. 3 stars
8/24/08 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
5/27/07 none ya it was so hotttttttttt 5 stars
11/17/06 Lys gd film 5 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 4 stars
11/04/06 cody a good comedy with a charming perf. by jennifer, but it kinded like clueless meets big. 3 stars
9/14/06 Mayrisha This movie brought a smile and a tear to my face. 4 stars
7/13/06 Stanley Thai A very good film. It's funny and has some sweet scenes. 4 stars
2/06/06 Anthony A very good chick flick, i enjoyed it 4 stars
8/30/05 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
3/27/05 Emma I thought that this was a really good film. 5 stars
12/14/04 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
9/30/04 Pat A wonderful movie; I watched it over and over again. 5 stars
9/25/04 Lindsay It F***** sucked 1 stars
9/19/04 angel the movie was funny, well written, but the ending was terrible! too neatly wound up 3 stars
9/18/04 Fernando R. Mdza Que tal, me gusto bastante el papel de Jennifer Garner y Mark Ruffalo excelente!! 5 stars
9/14/04 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
8/25/04 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
8/13/04 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
7/28/04 Kathryn It was a lot of fun to watch 5 stars
7/27/04 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
7/18/04 Valerie Very cute movie. Kind of a 'girly' version of "Big". 4 stars
7/10/04 Crystal M. IT WAS GREAT..when does it come out? 5 stars
7/04/04 Brian C0urtney Garner's performance is awful and embarrassing to watch 2 stars
6/16/04 Anna ! shows some things 13 yr. olds have to deal with in life thru highschool and Jr. high 5 stars
6/09/04 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
6/02/04 Elizabeth While a rather recycled story, it gets by on Jennifer Garner's charm. 3 stars
5/26/04 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
5/17/04 MC Reminded me of Big, enough said. 5 stars
5/15/04 JAJansenJr Five stars for a film that is entertaining, uplifting and affirms good values 5 stars
5/12/04 jamie i love this movie jennifer garner was so funny 5 stars
5/12/04 Me This movie was already made it was called "Jack" 1 stars
5/10/04 malcolm the music was definitely more '84 than 87. jennifer garner in a slip? i'll take it. 3 stars
5/03/04 Brenda Loved the message of 2nd chances, true to self 4 stars
4/28/04 Katie Verbeke I thought this moving was amazing...it rocked! 5 stars
4/27/04 Joe Stupid, Shallow And Did I Mention Pointless 1 stars
4/26/04 Mitchua Michael Jackson music+30 y/o having slumber parties with kid=deal for Jackson music rights 3 stars
4/25/04 Christina She's better as an ass-kicker. BIG ripoff, nuff said. 1 stars
4/22/04 Ray Garner is fun, but the movie is not 2 stars
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  23-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2006



Directed by
  Gary Winick

Written by
  Josh Goldsmith
  Cathy Yuspa

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

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