13 Going on 30 (2004) Poster

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I'm embarrassed to admit it, but this film was a delight
Colette Corr17 December 2004
It's 1987 and Jenna Rink (Christa B Allen) is having a hellish 13th birthday. Mocked by the local teen queens and their leader Lucy, with her only friend being Matt, the chubby boy next door, Jenna's had enough. If only she were 30, she'd be able to control her life. A whiff of magic dust later, and she fastforwards 17 years to the supervixen body of Jennifer Garner, a fab job editing her favourite magazine and a walk-in wardrobe. Jenna goes through the usual fish-out-of-water schtick , but finds that although she may have achieved her dreams, she's a bitch. Her best friend's now the adult Lucy (Judy Greer), while the grown-up Matt doesn't want to talk to her.

Suddenly 30's not innovative and it's certainly corny, but this chick-flick take on Big is charming. Jennifer Garner is suitably wide-eyed and her delight in life is infectious – she's ably supported by Mark Ruffalo as skeptical photographer Matt. I also like that although Jenna struggles in an adult world, she's still able to perform her job, showcasing the talent that she already has as a child. The fashion of both eras is spot on, although Jenna's fondness for Rick Springfield and Michael Jackson's Thriller is more 1984 than 1987.

Overall, Suddenly 30 makes the most of a tired premise to deliver a feel-good slightly guilty pleasure. ***/***** stars.
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Delightful and Sweet Fantasy
Claudio Carvalho4 October 2005
On her thirteenth anniversary, the teenager Jenna Rink wishes to be a successful single woman of thirty. Her dream comes true, and on the next day she wakes up older and powerful. However, she becomes disappointed with herself, since she is an awful colleague in her work, she has no friends and no contact with her parents, and her best friend is going to marry another woman, and tries to be thirteen again and rebuilt her life.

I like this type of fantasy-movie, and I immediately recall "Peggy Sue Got Married", "Freak Friday", "Mr. Destiny", "Big", all of them charming movies. "13 Going on 30" is a delightful and sweet fantasy about a teenager that makes a wish, and once accomplished, she does not like what she sees. Jennifer Garner is simply perfect in the role of Jenna Rink, and the story has some great funny moments, being a forgettable but also great entertainment. The chemistry between Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo is amazing and helps this romantic comedy to work. The music score is also excellent. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "De Repente 30" ("Suddenly 30")
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Garner shines, Ruffalo's wonderful and that makes all the difference
anhedonia23 April 2004
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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Much more than a female version of Big...
The body swap genre has been done before, and to much success, but the sweet nature of this film cancels out any lack of originality. Jennifer Garner, transported from a 13 year old girl into her 30 year old future self, gives a thoroughly appealing performance which is backed up with strong support from the likes of Mark Ruffallo, Judy Greer and Andy Serkis. Greer in particular is very well cast, she displays subtle but perfect comic timing, some of it improvised (watch out for the Bambi line towards the end of the movie).

The main surprise with this film is its emotional punch. The importance of family and the importance of staying true to yourself is filtered into the plot without being too sentimental or cloying. By the time the more emotional scenes come around, you might care so much about the characters that you cry along with them. Unashamedly girly, this is one to watch if you fancy a feel-good film that dares to go a little deeper.
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Jennifer Garner rules
Rogue-3228 April 2004
It's impossible to imagine this film with anyone other than Jennifer Garner in the lead role - she shines so brightly and so brilliantly in every scene, elevating what would most likely have been a flat and shallow affair without the seemingly-effortless magic of her performance.

Not that the other players weren't good - Mark Ruffalo came off great here and the rest of the cast was fine, no problems with anyone, it's just that the story (or the telling of it) wasn't exactly original or inspired. No matter, what with Garner lighting up the screen; she's a charmer alright, with her superb comic timing, her infectious warmth and her natural talent for making the audience care deeply about her - you can't learn these things in any acting school on any planet.
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Charming - Funny - "Well Worth" the Ticket Price!
Bill Stoll10 April 2004
Just saw the sneak preview in Tampa. Excellent. 8 out of 10! ... It's up there with Reese Witherspoon's Legally Blond and Tom Hanks' BIG. It's a nostalgic romp that'll make anyone with a memory smile.

Jennifer Garner sparkles with charisma and sizzles with charm. She's got that whole `girl next door' thing going on, supercharged with a personality that just doesn't quit. There's great chemistry amongst the cast - and all of them makes this light-hearted tale work.

The plot - seemingly done to death with `Big', Peggy Sue Gets Married, 18 Again (etc) - turns out to be amazingly fresh. It's funny, light . even logical (as a fairy tale that is) with a simple message for us all. "Be nice. Do the right thing. And live to be happy."

It'll pull the audiences (aged 8 to 80), make a ton of money for the producers and keep Garner's, Ruffalo's and Winick's phone ringing for some time to come.

Curmudgeons and violence addicts will do well to sit this one out. Great date flick `and' an outstanding family film. If you're looking for a great way to invest 100 minutes of your life, see From 13 to 30..
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Jennifer Garner makes this movie watchable
christian1238 December 2004
Jennifer Garner plays Jenna, a 13-year-old girl who makes a wish to become older, and she finds herself thrust forward 17 years into the body of a gorgeous 30-year-old executive. Trying to discover what happened, she gets back in touch with her old high school friends, who've all lived 17 years of life, while she is still just a girl in the body of a woman.

The plot is obviously similar to the movie Big and all the critics have already bothered to point that out. While 13 Going on 30 isn't as good or engaging as Big, it's still a decent film with a nice message. The movie works a lot better than it should because of Jennifer Garner. She's funny and she has a great personality. It also helps that she's having fun in the role and it's so hard to actually hate her because she plays a very likable character. Mark Ruffalo gives an okay performance, he was a little dull though. I don't think comedy is his best genre. There are also some fun performances from Andy Serkis and Judy Greer.

The film was too cheesy and silly for me at times. For example, there was this one scene where Jennifer Garner is at a sleepover with all these little thirteen year old girls and she's telling them about her kissing experiences. After she does this, they all get up and start dancing. It was just so cheesy and annoying though girls will probably love that part. The movie is also pretty predictable. If you have seen the preview then you should know how things will end. The movie is pretty simple yet still entertaining. It's also a lot better than other similar films like Chasing Liberty and The Prince and Me. In the end, 13 Going on 30 is a decent, charming chick flick that should appeal to it's target audience. Rating 6/10
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Fun and frolicky
George Parker4 August 2004
In "13 Going On 30" Garner is a 13 year old with a guy best friend and an impossible dream of becoming one of her school's "in" crowd. She pulls a "Rip Van Winkle" and suddenly finds herself 15 years older, with boobs, and the editor of a glitz and glam NYC femme fashion magazine. The rest is a fun frolic about coming to grips with what is important in life...what's steak and what's just so much sizzle. Garner and Ruffalo work well as the leads in this good old family values bop flick which keeps the momentum up 'til the very warm and fuzzy end. An unabashed chick flick, "13 Going On 30" should be an enjoyable watch for teen females and anyone in the mood for a romcom who can still remember what it's like to be 13 going on 30. (B-)
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mercywriter6 November 2006
In a time when most movies turn out to be a waste of my time, what a pleasant surprise to find this gem. On the surface, it might look like just another romantic comedy. But there was a depth to this movie that surprised and captivated me. A lot of good messages for young girls, 13, 30, and any age before or after. And what an interesting commentary on society. Through the eyes of an innocent 13 year old, who just happens to have the body of an adult, we see just how shallow, false, and empty modern society can be.

Jennifer Garner is adorable. She exudes a fresh innocence that makes it very believable she is a 13 year old in a 30 year old body. And Mark Ruffalo! He was a surprisingly wonderful hero. I have since seen him in other movies, but this was the first time.

A definite keeper, and one my whole family enjoys watching, over and over again.
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Good, once you get past the beginning
GLPman13 November 2004
Wow, to be honest: I really didn't think that I was going to enjoy this movie. The beginning was slow, and dragged on a little too much. But after that!

Garner does an excellent job portraying a confused thirteen year old in the body of a thirty year old. 13 GOING ON THIRTY is arguably one of her best.

The plot was good. Don't expect any twists or turns, though. Its consistency is one of the things that actually inspired me give it a good rating.

There really isn't much more to it! 13 GOING ON THIRTY was a great movie and I encourage you to see it if you haven't!
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"Let's watch 13 Going On 30?"
helenc_875 January 2006
13 Going On 30 is one of those films you can watch time and time again and it never gets even slightly boring. Whenever you're stuck for something to watch, you find yourself saying "let's watch 13 Going On 30!! Dubbed a girly remake of "Big", I have to say I never once made any comparison to Big while I was watching this film, it's in a league of it's own.

The lovable cast play a huge role in this film's popularity. You can't help but love Jennifer Garner's sparkly personality, and Mark Ruffalo adds a good bit of eye candy for us girlies!! Jennifer plays awkward 13 year-old Jenna, Mark playing her best friend Matt. Jenna wishes she was 30 and surprisingly gets her wish, only to find that Matt, her best friend and true love, is about to marry someone else. After finding out that her new life isn't all it's cracked up to be, she needs to go back and put things right for a second chance with her one true love.

It has to be said, this film will rekindle any forgotten love for Michael Jackson's epic "Thriller" in a film-defining party scene (that's all I'm gonna say!)

In a nutshell, I guarantee that this film will not disappoint - a romcom with that added sparkle - and any guy who says that it's strictly for girls is lying, they'll soon be saying it's in their top 5 films of all time!!
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Predictable & Unoriginal
breezyturtle10 December 2005
This movie is horrible. Everything in it has been done before. There is nothing original. I cannot stand when writers don't come up with their own plots.

A girl makes a wish on her 13th birthday and wakes up as an adult. Hmm, sounds a lot like a movie in the 80s called Big. What is even more annoying is Jennifer Garner's acting. She doesn't act like she is 13 she just acts like she is stupid.

From then on, you can guess the whole plot. She gets a good job and it just so happens that a friend she had at 13 works with her. Wow, how awesome! But, no....her friend is bad and turns on her, trying to get her job. But, of course, she wins in the end when she comes up with a "great" idea.

There's also a dancing scene in the movie that I've seen a thousand times before.

I hate this movie.
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cute cute cute!
Jessica Carvalho24 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is so...cute! I don't have better words to define it. I absolutely adore Jennifer Garner,and she is funny and cute as Jenna Rink. The story is about a girl called Jenna Rink(Garner), a 13 year old girl who strongly wishes to be 30 and have a wonderful life and a beautiful boyfriend as the women she sees in the magazines. One day, at her birthday, she wishes to all her dreams to become true. When she wakes up the next morning, she's 30 years old, a successful magazine editor with a great life and a famous boyfriend.However,as days were passing, she starts to know what she had become and how was her behavior since her 13 years old birthday.She lost her contact with her best friend Matt and even her parents,has no true friends,betrays her boyfriend and her friend of work is Tom tom, one of the popular girls in her days of school who was a total b.i.t.c.h.

The movie is very nice and remember at some points, Butterfly Effect! :)
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I don't want to live anymore
hoju_311 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm beginning to see a pattern in the movies I give a 1 to. They are almost all movies that my wife made me watch. Maybe I should stop having faith in her taste in movies. Anyway, this is typical drivel aimed at pre-teen girls but done even more poorly than usual. Once again, the writer broke the cardinal rule of any movie. He/she made the main character unlikable. She starts off by being a complete b*tch to her friend at the beginning, and then finds out when she becomes 30, that she's basically a sh*tty person (having affairs, etc.). Why the F would we feel for this person? OK, let's say we can get past that. Jennifer Garner is about as far from attractive as you can get without having some sort of deformity. I don't know if it's her or the writer's fault, but her character goes well beyond my threshold for annoyance. Here's a tip for future filmmakers: 13 year olds are NOT entertaining, they're annoying. Far and away the most embarrassing moment in the movie came when they danced to "Thriller". Holy crap that was painful. It showed her practicing that dance at the beginning. That explains why she knows it, but an entire club full of people?!? Argh!!! The Macarena would be more believable! All of a sudden she's completely incompetent and has no clue how to do her job and no one notices? At least Tom Hanks' character on "Big" had a job that made sense to a child. These body-switching/child becoming adult overnight movies are really getting out of hand, and this is by far the worst one yet.
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The Female Version of 'Big'
Chrysanthepop6 February 2008
'13 Going on 30' feels like watching the female version of the 1988 Tom Hanks starrer 'Big'. Of course one knows what to expect from such films so if you watch it with the right level of expectations, you might not be disappointed. It follows the typical romantic comedy chiches but has some funny and fun moments. Jennifer Garner is both cute and hot and she fits her part well. Ruffalo looks uninterested in the beginning but the chemistry seems to build as the film proceeds. I wish they gave the 'thriller' sequence some more footage as that was one of the brighter moments of the film. In a nutshell, it's a decent film that can be enjoyed taking ones level of expectation into consideration. Nothing great. Not exactly memorable but not utter trash.
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Funny comedy with a slight touch of fantasy. Recommended.
insomniac_rod30 July 2009
This is a very entertaining movie oriented for a teenager audience that is able to enjoy romantic light comedies mixed with fantasy and some situations that deal with the imagination of a young girl.

This movie, unlike "Freaky Friday" deals with more mature issues such as having a couple, labor life, and more.

Still, there's plenty of light comedy and even a great "Thriller" choreography. (R.I.P. MJ).

So, I can recommend this movie for those who enjoy romantic comedies with a touch of fantasy.

Jennifer Garner delivers a funny, super sexy performance. She demonstrates she's a very talented actress when it has to do with comedy.

Mark Ruffalo is an underrated actor and delivers a fine performance.

Overall this is a funny movie.
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MAGNIFICENT Mark Ruffalo!!!!
anagal15 August 2006
Ah, Mark Ruffalo is at it again! No one can escape his tearfully cute charm and sweetness nor Jennifer Garner's equally hilarious performance in this laugh-out-loud comedy, superior to the similar 1988 film "Big", featuring Tom Hanks. I just could not get enough of this movie! It just makes you want to marry Mark Ruffalo (even if you're a guy) and curse the day he married Sunrise Coigney (honestly, he is THAT CUTE in this movie!!!!) Everyone played so well and you can easily tell that everyone had so much fun working in this film, on set and off. It was an absolute delight to see Garner go from enigmatic super spy to bright but clueless 80s sweetheart. You even regretfully start loving the "antagonist" Tom-Tom for her totally "happening" skanky personality!!! The greatest theme of the film, to be true to yourself, resonates sweetly but powerfully in every scene. It is an utter joy to watch over and over again (Mark Ruffalo is beyond STUNNING and just reduces you to tears at the end, not because of the movie's ending but because of the realisation that you can't be his wife!!!!! Honest!)
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Remember What was Good...
Jon Ochiai21 October 2004
I put off seeing "13 Going On 30" when it opened this past spring. Though it starred the stunning Jennifer Garner, the movie looked to be a rip-off of "Big" or Disney's "The Kid"-- 2 movies I really loved. I finally saw director Gary Winick's movie on DVD when on vacation a month ago. I was wrong. "13 Going On 30" is a funny, charming, and sentimental romantic comedy noteworthy on its own. The screenplay by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa is unexpectedly bitter sweet, and quirky at the same time. This is truly a star vehicle for "Alias" star, Jennifer Garner. Here in "13 Going On 30" she is radiant, vulnerable, beautiful, and very grounded. Although Garner's next project is the action movie, "Elektra", her talents and gifts are so tailored for romantic comedies-- that being good romantic comedies like this. Jennifer Garner is a more glamorous Julia Roberts. Well, this is enough of my point of view.

Garner plays Jenna Rink, who is the typical teenage girl who wants to be something else not realizing that she is already special. Young Jenna (as played by a very good Christa B. Allen) wants to be a "Six Chick", which young Matt (Sean Marquette) points out is impossible, because she would be the "Seventh Chick". Logic aside, Jenna yearns to be popular. So she invites "Six Chick" leader Tom Tom (Alexandra Kyle) and her crew to her 13th birthday party. Matt, who is in love with Jenna, gives her a miniature Dream House that he made including a cut-out of 80's pop star, Rick Springfield. The Dream House also comes along with "magic dust". However, at the party Tom Tom plays a cruel trick on Jenna. Jenna is left devastated, wishing she were "Thirty, flirty, and thriving".

She then wakes up 30 with a naked pro-hockey player boyfriend in her New York apartment. She is now an editor for her favorite fashion magazine, "Poise", she is co-worker and best friends with Lucy aka Tom Tom (Judy Greer), and she has "boobs". On the surface it looks like Jenna has her dream life. She tracks down grown up Matt Flamhaff (the grown up Mark Ruffalo), who is now a professional photographer. She discovers that they are no longer friends, and that they have not spoken since they were 13 years old. She gradually realizes that she has become a woman who doesn't speak to her parents, and doesn't have any "real" friends. In a great scene with Matt, Jenna tells him "Stop being so nice to me. I don't deserve it... I am not a nice person. And the thing is, I am not 13 anymore." This is a wonderful grown up moment. What do you do, when the choices you made in the past result in you being the person you never intended to be? Credit Goldsmith and Yuspa's story hook-- for taking a light hearted look at the difference between what you want in life, and who you are going to be in life. In a round about fashion Jennifer Garner as Jenna really takes on who she is going to be-- "Remember what used to be good..." It is Garner's earnestness and big heart that wins one over in "13 Going On 30". Garner has such a magical screen presence. Mark Ruffalo (who is also great in "Collateral") has wonderful chemistry with Garner. As Matt one can tell that he always loved Jenna, although he is getting married to someone else. Ruffalo has an understated sweetness and charm.

Director Gary Winick completes a balancing act throughout. He manages the totally wacky "Thriller" dance sequence, touching family reunion, and quiet moments with Jenna and Matt. Winick's direction is funny, light hearted, and has a touching sense of regret. Though no worries here. Like all good romantic comedies, everything works out. Jennifer Garner is a gifted movie star to watch.
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Garner Carries Film With Familiar Formula
CitizenCaine5 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes a formulaic movie rises above its material due to the charm and performance of its star. 13 Going On 30 is one such movie. We've seen this plot before in Big with Tom Hanks and in its numerous followers the last 15 years. We have a female version of Big this time, starring the wonderful Jennifer Garner from ABC's Alias. It's impossible not to like her performance, which is charming, heartfelt, full of wide-eyed innocence, and star-making. It's clear from watching this film that Ms. Garner is headed for major roles in the future. While the film seems geared toward a female teenage demographic, there's plenty of wish fulfillment to go around for guys too. I mean who wouldn't want to be Mark Ruffalo in this film? To have a hot girl like Jennifer Garner calling you Matty and trying to make things up to you is enough for any male to maintain interest. The 13 year old Jenna wishes she was 30 when her birthday party goes awry and she blames it on her best friend Matty(Ruffalo). At 30, she wakes up as Jennifer Garner, and is forced to try to make sense of what's going on. In the spirit of the better recent body switch movies, like Freaky Friday with Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, 13 Going On 30 isn't just a movie with comical results. There is also sort of a moral to learn, which makes the film all the more endearing. Sure there are several parts to the movie that require an enormous suspension of disbelief, such as how Jenna goes from 13 to 30, how Matty would even want to bother with her at 30, working with her magazine colleagues with a 13 year old brain, and especially what she proposes to revamp the magazine she works for. Do we really believe the public is ready to discard celebrity gossip and layouts in favor of ordinary people? Do 13 year old girls really wish they were 30 at times? I'm not so sure about that. However, the complications that ensue via the charming Garner captivate us, and make us yearn for a second chance for something in our pasts too. We can all identify with that. The dance sequences weren't as fun as they were intended to be; because, most of the songs in the film were released long before Jenna would have turned 13 in the movie, making them seem out of sync with her time line. Garner's bounce and energy were enough to carry this film, which is above average of its type. *** of 4 stars.
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If you're not taken with Jennifer Garner after this, you probably never will be...
Victor Field29 August 2004
Even Jennifer Garner has admitted the debt "13 Going On 30" owes to "Big," so let's just a) consider how the movie works on its own merits and b) be thankful that this movie is closer in quality to "Big" and "Vice Versa" than "Dream A Little Dream" or "Like Father, Like Son." Now that we've got that out of the way...

At the end of the second season of "Alias," Jenny's Sydney Bristow woke up to find herself in Hong Kong with two years having elapsed. Similarly, this movie has her character of Jenna Rink (hmmm... Jenna-Rink - close to "generic"... are writers Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa trying to tell us something?) waking up to find herself in a strange apartment with 17 years having elapsed, and in both cases she discovers things about what she got up to in the intervening time that aren't to her liking. The resemblance ends there, however - well, barring the odd bit of (metaphorical) backstabbing, romance and so on.

And barring further confirmation that she's less lost on the big screen than several in her position; not only does this play like a real movie and not a custom-built vehicle, but her charm and playing keep the movie going (for all of the good points of "Alias," it doesn't take as much advantage of her warmth as this does). Not that the dimpled one doesn't have any support from Mark Ruffalo as her childhood friend-turned-adult photographer and Andy Serkis as her editor, and not that she isn't initially a bit over the top as the child-adult... but she clicks the moment she exults over getting to ride in a limo (which fortunately isn't too long in screen time after her wish has come true), and Jennifer continues to put doubt at bay throughout the rest of the movie; from her exuberance in the "Thriller" scene (bonus: Serkis moonwalking... Sydney Bristow and Gollum shaking their moneymakers on the dance floor!) to her sorrow when she makes a horrible discovery about herself, it's very much her movie.

I fear this review might turn into what Americans call a "mash note" to Jennifer Garner, so before I get into how justified her boyfriend's nickname for her is, let's talk about the rest of the movie. It's got some awkward ways of setting Jenna up as a teen of the 1980s, which get in the way of the effect; though she's 13 in 1987, the most prominent tunes associated with her are Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl," Pat Benatar's "Love Is A Battlefield" - not only does she quote it in conversation, but it plays over the end credits - and the aforementioned "Thriller"... all of which came out well before 1987 (we hear her singing Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," which makes much more sense for a 13-year-old girl in 1987).

But it's to be praised for avoiding the obvious get-out clause at the end, and it's never going to be confused for anything other than a warm-hearted, non-cynical comedy. Maybe a bit too warm-hearted (how many magazines do you know that regularly dump celebs in favour of "real" people?), but a charmer all the same, and one that'll keep Jennifer Garner fans going until "Elektra" and the new season of "Alias" arrive next year. (And enough Julia Roberts comparisons - JG can do comedy, but can JR do action?)

Oh yes, and her boyfriend's nickname for her? "Sweetbottom." I told you it was justified.
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adorable fantasy, winning star
blanche-225 April 2005
Jennifer Garner is wasting her time with action flicks, if this film is any indication. She is a delight playing a young woman with the body of a thirty-year-old whose mind is just 13, having just gotten her birthday wish to be "30 and flirty." The character of Jenna, in true fantasy movie fashion, gets a glimpse of her life if she stays with a decision she made in one critical life moment.

This is a clever movie filled with great touches, such as a closeup on Jenna's face as she confides in her friends...who turn out to be a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds from her building...the magazine party where Jenna initiates the dancing...and my favorite, the scene in the restaurant, where her friend points out the "cute" guy.

Garner is supported by a wonderful cast that includes Mark Ruffalo and Kathy Bates.
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30 going on 13!, Or never wish to be what you can't be!
jotix1006 February 2005
Knowing this film is a rip off of other, better done movies first hand, helps one understands what's to come, and therefore, without any expectations, this little number might be an inoffensive way to spend an hour and a half of one's leisure time.

The film director, Gary Winnick, works by the numbers in presenting this story about a teen ager who awakens one day transformed into the epitome of all what she wanted to be. Suddenly, the ugly duckling becomes a most beautiful swan, right in front of our eyes.

The film is helped greatly by the wonderful Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo. Ms. Garner has a wholesome look that works in her favor. Mr. Ruffalo is excellent, as always.

In a way, Jenna, in her wish for being 30, only wanted boobs and a hunk for a boyfriend. Imagine what would have happened if she had wished to be a nuclear scientist, or a brain surgeon?

Oh well, it's only a film. Enjoy it.
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Yet another lame switching-bodies chick flick
kellyadmirer24 April 2004
There is nothing wrong with chick flicks. I like them sometimes. Dwelling on their female characters' inner turmoil, lavishing on the inevitable romantic complications, and dishing up some comical beefcake to satisfy the female urge to both be attracted to and contemptuous of men, you either like them or you don't.

If you don't, avoid this film like the plague. No reason to read further.

Now that we have our intended audience, my conclusion about this film is that it stinks. Not as in, "worst movie ever made." But rather, it stinks in the sense that it offers absolutely nothing new, has no suspense despite attempting some lame drama, and at times looks almost like a parody of other, (somewhat) better films in the genre, such as "Freaky Friday." It's difficult to say whether this is even a comedy or a drama or a satire, because it has elements of each, and not in ways intended (i.e., the drama is comical, the comedy is dramatic, and the satire is completely unintentional).

Jennifer Garner just can't pull it off. Everybody seems to want this lady to succeed because she is "cute," or maybe it is because her "tough girl" characters in other projects such as "Alias" and "Daredevil" make a political statement about female empowerment. Whatever the reason, what little charm she has falls flat in this film. And I mean flat as in, she smiles pretty and bounces around but couldn't show a genuine emotion aside from "happy happy" if her life depended on it.

People at our showing - and it was packed with teenage girls, their parents, their dates, pre-teens, and so on - appeared to have mixed feelings. They laughed at totally inappropriate times, such as when Garner tried to actually show some kind of depth of emotion. People want Garner to succeed, and watching her fail to pull it off is excruciating. The guy next to me laughed a couple of times, but then the laugh trailed off when the scene completely flopped, an embarrassed kind of "I can't believe I laughed at that lame thing" laugh.

The lamest scene in the film is toward the end. Well, let me re-state that. The entire end is the lamest part of the film, and that is saying something. I'm not giving anything away here, if you can't figure out the ending of this within the film's opening fifteen minutes, you really need to get out more.

Garner appears at her dream-guy's house (every chick flick has a dream guy, real or imaginary or idealized, and this one is kind of all three) and gives a tearful speech (I think she managed some tears, really it looked more like a pained grimace you would get if you stubbed your toe really badly) and tries to emote about how much she cares. It comes off, though, looking as if she is simply having a real difficult time remembering her lines. That's when the laughter popped up. It wasn't me laughing, by the way, but rather some of the teens who are this turkey's target audience. I was stunned, because it really gave me hope that Generation Z or whatever it is called these days isn't a total loss.

Anyway, so Garner isn't up to it, even though everyone seems to want her to be. What about the rest of the film? Well, if you've seen your garden variety gay stereotype New York boss, your backstabbing co-worker, and your usual evil over-the-top female schoolyard popular girl group (whose development looks more interesting than this film), then you pretty much already have seen everything this film has to offer.

The plot is way, way out there - it's almost as if the writers are winking and nodding at us, saying "we know this is total garbage, but you know you lap it up anyway." Actually, there is the seed of a good movie in this tripe, and that is the "alternate character" that our heroine Jennifer replaces (well, it's really herself that she replaces, but not her, or should I say, a potentially much more interesting her). You actually may begin to feel some sympathy for the villain in this story, by the way. She seems a lot more alive than Garner despite getting about a quarter of the screen time and being a complete caricature.

I liked the film's locations. It primarily was filmed in Greenwich Village around 5th Avenue and 11th Street and in mid-town Manhattan. I found myself annoyed at the character development scenes and waiting for good shots of some of my old haunts.

Seriously, consider renting "Peggy Sue Got Married" or "Jawbreaker" or "Freaky Friday" if you want to see an evil schoolgirl clique or female body-switching or female time-travel film, you're likely to have a much better time.
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inconsistent story line and disappointing acting
quantumpeep10 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I will be the first to admit that as a 31 yo male, I am not the target demo for this movie. However, I went with an open mind and the hopes that it would offer simple, playful truths about the world and live up to the comparison with Big. It doesn't.

Jennifer Garner had her moments, but didn't quite pull off either the playfulness of being trapped in an adult body or the very real fear of showing up to work not even knowing what your job is.

Perhaps my main criticism would be that the movie is not self-consistent. I am happy to believe in magic dust that transports us to the future and fulfills our wishes, but: (SPOILERS) Does nobody realize she can't do most of her job anymore? Would a room full of people know the choreography to Thriller? Would she hit on a 13 year old boy in public without remembering that, oh I don't know, she's trapped in the body of a 30 yo and hanging out with her peers? Would anyone sabotage their current employer and keep the proof in their office desk? Ok, maybe the last one.

Mark Ruffalo offered the one glimmer of positivity for me with a quality performance as the one believable character in the movie.

Again, I admit that I am not the target for this movie. It certainly had the cast and publicity to be the next Big, but in the end, it falls well short.
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Surprisingly fun!
Kristine2 May 2007
I am not a Jennifer Garner fan, to be honest, I just had no interest in seeing 13 going on 30, it looked like such a chick flick rip off of Big. But my friend told me about it and said that it was such a cute movie, so I rented it and we watched it together, I was actually trying to hold some laughter in because I didn't want to admit that I might have actually liked this movie, but I have to be honest, I guess I actually enjoyed 13 going on 30! It was really cute and was a sweet movie that worked very well, Jennifer did a good job on playing Jenna, I actually felt so bad for her, her feeling like she had no control over how she acted over the years before she turned 30. Well, I guess I should tell you a little about the movie.

Jenna is a 13 year old teenage girl who wants to fit in and be apart of the in-crowd. But when the in-crowd plays a nasty joke on her at her birthday party, she wishes that she could be 30 and flirty, her wish comes true and she wakes up to a great apartment with a hot naked man in it, she's not only the one of the top editors of her favorite magazine, but she's also a person that not too many people would want to be around since it seems like she was a sleazy and manipulative woman. But Jenna knows she's better than that and hooks up with her old best friend, Matt, to help her rediscover her past and find out how she could change her current reputation.

13 going on 30 was actually a charming film that I'm sure you'll enjoy. It was very cute and had some very funny moments. I loved the Thriller dance sequence, it was so great, and Jenna hitting on the 13 year old guy was so cute. I would recommend 13 going on 30 for a fun afternoon, I think you'll get a kick out of it, it's a new Big for a new generation.

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