Identical twins, separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents, discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together.
At college Paige meets Eddie, a fellow student from Denmark, whom she first dislikes but later accepts, likes, and loves; he proves to be Crown Prince Edvard. Paige follows him to Copenhagen, and he follows her back to school with a plan.
After total humiliation at her thirteenth birthday party, Jenna Rink wants to just hide until she's thirty. Thanks to some wishing dust, Jenna's prayer has been answered. With a knockout body, a dream apartment, a fabulous wardrobe, an athlete boyfriend, a dream job, and superstar friends, this can't be a better life. Unfortunetly, Jenna realizes that this is not what she wanted. The only one that she needs is her childhood best friend, Matt, a boy that she thought destroyed her party. But when she finds him, he's a grown up, and not the same person that she knew. Written by
Garner shines, Ruffalo's wonderful and that makes all the difference
Having criticized the writer of "Connie and Carla" for not recognizing the writers of "Some Like it Hot" in the credits, I'd be a hypocrite not to fault the writers of "13 Going on 30" for not thanking the writers of "Big" (and probably "Vice Versa" and all those switch-comedies of the 1980s).
But unlike the wretched and dreadfully unfunny "Connie and Carla," which featured two horrible performances by the male and female leads, "13 Going on 30" is helped immensely by an utterly charming and winning performance by Jennifer Garner and yet another wonderful turn by Mark Ruffalo, who's fast becoming one of the best actors of his generation.
Garner has a smile that would melt the heart of the severest cynic and she uses that to great effect. She brilliantly captures the awkwardness of a confused teenager stuck in a 30-year-old body and is thoroughly believable as Jenna. There's a captivating sweetness to her performance that's lovely to watch. Ruffalo plays Matt with understated grace - there are scenes in this film that could easily have been played over-the-top, but it's his low-key approach that makes them all the more convincing.
The story, itself, is awfully conventional. There's nothing new or unexpected here. Even the odd twist in the plot provides nothing unpredictable. So it's up to the actors to elevate this above the ordinary and mundane. This film pours on the schmaltz at times, but it's Garner and Ruffalo who help take the schmaltzy plot and somehow make it work. This film succeeds solely because of their performances. Garner proved she could do action with TV's "Alias" and the dull "Daredevil," and now she shows she's a damn fine comedic actress, too.
Romantic comedies are inherently predictable. It's the nature of the genre. And, more often than not nowadays, they're also incredibly dull, uninspiring and make for tough viewing. And "13 Going on 30" being a Hollywood, not independent, film, you know the writers aren't going to take any risks with their story.
But somehow thanks to Garner and Ruffalo, "13 Going on 30" has undeniable charm. It may not leave a lasting impression, but you leave the theatre smiling and that's more than what can be said of most romantic comedies these days.
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