Saturday, June 28, 2014

13 Going on 30 (2004)

13 Going on 30Despite the unoriginal premise (the movie Big recast with a woman), 13 Going on 30 is a very entertaining movie and this is due in large part to its star, Jennifer Garner, who brings to her role loads of charm. This movie is the perfect vehicle for the actress because it allows her to break away from the action hero persona that she cultivated with the T.V. show Alias and Daredevil and prove that she can do a romantic comedy.

Garner, with her warm, disarming smile has a wholesome, girl-next-door quality that is quite endearing. She's beautiful but not in an unattainable way. She also has natural comedic ability, for example, in one scene, Jenna livens up her magazine's boring party with an impromptu dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," inspiring others to get up and dance as well. Garner also has a very expressive face that is perfect for the broad comedy of this movie. She is willing to take risks and make fun of herself. She is also willing to put herself out there and is not afraid to appear goofy and this only makes her that much more appealing.

13 Going On 30 is the victim of the dreaded double dip. If you already own the Special Edition version of the movie, the two new extras hardly warrant a re-purchase. Also, if you already own the previous edition you might want to hold onto it as the audio commentary by director Gary Winick and the commentary by producers Gina Matthews, Donna Arkoff-Roth, and Susan Arnold is not on this edition.

New to this edition is "Fashion Flashback: Into the 1980s" that features teen models gushing about how much they love the "retro" look of the `80s. It tells you what to look for and where to track down "authentic" clothes of that era.

"Making of a Teen Dream" takes us through the making of the movie in a fun, breezy way that is customary of most press kit type featurettes. The cast speak admiringly about each other in this self-congratulatory extra.

There is a "Bloopers" reel, a collection of blown lines and other assorted goofs that are quite cute.

Also included are two music videos, one for Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" and another for "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield that allows you to immerse yourself in pure `80s cheese.

The most enjoyable extra is "I Was A Teenage Geek." The cast talk about what they were like in the `80s. Everyone tells amusing stories of what they were doing in high school with photos of what they looked like at the time.

There is also an "Alternate Beginning and Ending" that features different actors playing Jenna and Matt when they were kids. The scene is about the same length as what is in the movie but is edited differently. We get more detail on Jenna's desire to be one of the popular girls. Thankfully, these were not used.

Finally, there are 15 deleted scenes with more footage of Jenna and Matt at the magazine party and so on. These scenes flesh out the relationships between the characters.

Although this movie is often inaccurately referred to as a girly version of Tom Hanks BIG the movie is actually so much more and so much better. Whewreas in the previous movie Hanks character stays in the 1980s when he receives instant adulthood, in this movie an element of time travel is involved when 13 year-old Jenna goes to sleep in 1987 and wakes up all grown up in 2004.

The movie is all the better for this plot device, we get to see where most of the characters from 1987 are now, and the implications of the decision Jenna makes at the beginning of the movie. Its both piognant, romantic and funny in its execution and you would be pressed to find a truly more involving comedy drama in recent years.

Carrying the movie is star of television show ALIAS, the impossibly beautiful and talented Jennifer Garner. She proves that her entertaining turn as Sydney Bristow was no fluke by ably showing of her comic timing and delivery. Not a slam-bang comedy of the Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler vein this movie is more subtle and less in your-face.

As a 32-year old who remembers 1987 well the pop culture references to that era in the initial scenes were drenched in nostalgia and as someone who has chosen a similar career path as Garner's character it is even more involving and interesting. Without giving too much of the well crafted story away, this movie makes you reflect on the decisions you make and the impilcations each decision makes. In this sense it is like the recent Kutcher movie THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT although far more entertaining and light hearted.

This movie is well recommended.

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I was rather pleasantly surprised by this film. Obviously, the storyline is by no means unique, and I've seen too many films featuring kids and adults miraculously switching places to feel all that confident about going once more into a similar breach, but 13 Going on 30 is actually, well, delightful. I'm a big Jennifer Garner fan going all the way back to her role in the short-lived Time of Your Life; by and large, I think she did a wonderful job in this role. It is certainly a different Jennifer Garner than we see on Alias, and it certainly appears as if she relished a role in which she got to be silly and whimsical. I would have to credit Mark Ruffalo with an even more impressive performance, though, as his was the subtle glue that held the fantastical elements of the plot together.

Young Jenna has just turned 13; already unhappy with the way she looks and anxious to be popular, she suffers an embarrassing indignation which has her fervently wishing to be 30. Thanks to some wishing dust on the model dream home her obviously infatuated by "not cool" friend Matt built for her, she gets her wish. I thought the early scenes featuring 13-year-old Jenna reacting to the instant passing of 17 years and adjusting to her new, uh, accessories was a little awkward, and a certain lack of continuity in regard to her reactions to new stimuli popped up sporadically as the film progressed. One minute she's acting like a young teenager, and then she will suddenly seem to have grown up into her new age to a significant degree. Anyway, she discovers that all of her dreams have come true: she was popular, and she has become mighty successful in life actually sitting atop the fashion magazine she was addicted to as a kid. Before long, though, she begins to see that having it all isn't all it is cracked up to be. This grown-up body she inhabits is actually a rather empty shell of a not so nice person. She learns that she has done some rather nasty things over the course of the missing 17 years. The only person she can turn to is her friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo), but the two have gone in very different directions over the years. In the process of trying to save her magazine, Jenna learns that the dreams of childhood don't turn out the way you thought they would and other obvious life lessons, etc., etc. You can probably guess what happens at the end.

The film does succeed rather well as a comedy; the Thriller dance scene, while uncomfortable to watch, is indeed quite silly, and some of adult Jenna's interactions with young teens also play well. I also loved the fact that the movie helped take me back to the 1980s, to some degree. There are some classic 80s tunes on the soundtrack, and beginning the film with the sound of the Go-Go's definitely qualifies for a star in my book. That being said, I have to say that I don't remember some of the awful hair-dos of the film actually existing in the late 80s certainly not among the girls my eyes gravitated toward in those halcyon days of youth.

In the end, this is basically your silly, entertaining, feel-good comedy, and it stars one of Hollywood's most attractive, talented actresses. It doesn't try to be anything more than what it is, and that is a big reason why it works as well as it does. It is by no means a must-see, but I do believe it is a film you cannot help but enjoy.

Read Best Reviews of 13 Going on 30 (2004) Here

Jennifer Garner is wonderful in 13 Going on 30 ! She is so believable as a young girl who wakes up to find she's turned 30 over night.

The storyline and script are really funny and enjoyable, with a very heart-warming ending. This is a great movie for a Mom and young daughter to go see together both will be able to relate to it.

Even the guy I dragged along, said he was amazed at how good the movie was.

Also, if you are into 80's music this is the movie for you ! The soundtack is Excellent !

Want 13 Going on 30 (2004) Discount?

This is an absolutely charming and delightful comedy with an excellent cast. Do not, however, see this film unless you are ready to suspend disbelief. After all, the premise of this film is that a distressed thirteen year old girl suddenly finds herself propelled into the future and into the body of her thirty year old self.

Jenna Rink is a typical teenager, a little gawky, a little insecure. She pals around with her uncool best friend, Matt Flamhaff, but, at the same time, is trying to make it into the cool six chicks clique at her school, a nasty little group of teenage hotties who use Jenna for what they can get from her. They agree to come to her thirteenth birthday party, if she will do a class report for their leader. She agrees.

Matt is the first guest to arrive, and he gives her a little, doll sized dream house that he has made for her, replete with magic dust. When the other guests arrive, they soon depart with the needed report in hand, after playing a very mean trick on Jenna and leaving her desolate. A set of circumstances causes the magic dust to fall upon Jenna, just as she makes a wish that finds hers transported into the future and into the body of her thirty year old self.

Jenna discovers that she now has every thing for which she had dreamed when she was thirteen. She also discovers how she has changed, and it is not a change for the better. She turns to Matt, whose friendship, she is shocked to find, has been lost somewhere along the way. Jenna then sets about putting to right what went wrong. Of course, there are any number of humorous incidents that arise out Jenna's current situation.

Jennifer Garner is sensational as a thirteen year old girl trapped in the body of a thirty year old woman. She infuses the role with just the right amount of innocence and joyous abandonment that teenagers often exude. Kittenish and coltish all at once, her charm is infectious. Mark Ruffalo is perfectly cast as the grown-up Matt. He exudes sensitivity and niceness, all rolled into one very compelling package. One cannot help but like both characters tremendously.

This is an entertaining film for those who enjoy light-hearted fantasy films. This film has been compared to the film, "Big", and while there are some similarities between the two, this film stands on its own two feet and deserves its own accolades. Deft direction by Gary Winnick and excellent performances by the entire cast make this film a comedic gem to be enjoyed by those who like a charmingly realized film.

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