13 Going on 30

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

As the story opens, Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen) is an unpopular girl celebrating her 13th birthday on May 26, 1987. She wishes to overcome her unpopularity at school since she views herself as gawky and uncool. Jenna especially wants to join the “Six Chicks”, a school clique led by Lucy “Tom-Tom” Wyman (Alexandra Kyle), who takes advantage of Jenna’s desire to fit in by manipulating her into doing a school assignment. Before her birthday party, Jenna’s best friend Matty Flamhaff (Sean Marquette) gives her a doll dream house that he built for her, and a packet of “magic wishing dust”, which he sprinkles on the roof of the house.

Tom-Tom and the rest of the six chicks show up to Jenna’s house party where they play a cruel practical joke on her during a game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven”. Jenna, mistakenly thinking Matt was responsible, yells at him and barricades herself in the closet where she put the Dream House. She cries and rocks backs and forth, bumping into the wall, wishing to be “30, flirty, and thriving”. The wishing dust from the dollhouse sprinkles on her, causing her to fall asleep. The next morning, Jenna awakens as a 30-year-old woman (Jennifer Garner) living in a Fifth Avenue apartment. It is now 2004, and Jenna has no memory of the 17 years that have passed since her 13th birthday.

30-year old Jenna’s best friend, Lucy (Judy Greer), drives her to her work office. Soon, Jenna discovers she works for Poise, her favorite fashion magazine from when she was a teenager. Missing her best friend from 1987, Jenna asks her assistant to track down Matt. To her dismay, Jenna learns she and “Matty” have been estranged since high school when Jenna fell in with the in-crowd and became best friends with Tom-Tom, who now goes by her real name Lucy. Matt (Mark Ruffalo) is now a struggling photographer who’s engaged.

After Jenna overhears Lucy badmouthing her to a co-worker, she sadly realizes that what she thought she wanted wasn’t important after all. This is complicated by the fact that Jenna has become a shadow of her former self. She has lost almost all contact with her parents, and is having an affair with the husband of a colleague. Not only is she generally hated by her co-workers and anyone else she has worked with, she is suspected of giving her magazine’s ideas to a rival publication, Sparkle. Jenna slowly realizes that the person she has become is neither trustworthy nor likable, and unknowingly begins to reverse the situation by distancing herself from her new, shallow boyfriend. From this point on, all of Jenna’s work to rebuild her life as a 30-year-old woman has gone to waste.

Jenna heads back to her hometown in New Jersey and, while her parents are out, hides in the same closet as 17 years before and cries. Her parents return and find her hiding, and they welcome her in for the night. The next day, she reminisces by looking through school yearbooks and other items from her school days and catch-up on the 17 years she doesn’t remember. These inspire her on her return to Manhattan. Over several outings and working together on a magazine project, Jenna becomes friends with Matt again, asking his help for her project. Although Matt is engaged and Jenna has a boyfriend, they kiss during a nighttime walk.

After arranging a magazine photo shoot with Matt, then making a successful presentation for a planned revamp for Poise, Jenna prepares for the revamp when she gets bad news from the publisher: Poise is shutting down because the work she put into the relaunch ended up in Sparkle. Jenna learns she was responsible for sabotaging Poise from within by sending their material to Sparkle for months. When Lucy learns this, she cons Matt into signing over the photo rights from the relaunch shoot to her. She accepts the position of Sparkle editor-in-chief, telling Jenna she wants to be both the pot and the kettle in their relationship.

When an already-distraught Jenna discovers Matt is getting married later that day, she rushes to his house and begs him to call off the wedding. Dazed, Matt realizes he loves Jenna, but cannot change the past. From his closet, he pulls the “dream house” he made 17 years before and gives it back to her. Jenna leaves in tears, crying over the dream house.

Unknown to Jenna, specks of wishing dust remain on the dream house, and she wishes she was 13 again. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself back in the closet of the basement at her parents’ house, 13 years old again. When Matt comes to check on her, she jumps on top of him and kisses him. She also tells Tom-Tom she can be the pot and kettle all by herself, then rips apart the school project. Seventeen years later, Jenna and Matt are married and live in a house which resembles the dollhouse.

REVIEW:

Today, I’m in the mood for something light. Perhaps something that will take me back to my younger days. How about an age-switching film starring a hot chick. I know! How about 13 Going on 30?

What is this about?

It’s 1987, and geeky Jenna wants to be popular. When her 13th birthday party goes awry, and she makes a wish that she could just be 30 already, she wakes up to discover she’s flash-forwarded 17 years. Now a successful magazine editor, Jenna finds out that being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What did I like?

Age before beauty. Jennifer Garner has always been on my radar as someone who has managed to not seem like an old soul. As a matter of fact, there have been times when she has come off as a big kid. There are also times when she can be deadly serious. The casting director obviously took note of her childish side and cast her as a 13 yr old who wishes to be “30, flirty, and fun”.

Doppelganger. In Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Garner’s younger self was played by Christa B. Allen, who also lays the younger version of Garner in this film. The two of them look so much alike, one could easily believe they are sisters. As a matter of fact, I just looked up some current pictures and she looks even more like her now.

Debut. Jennifer Garner’s character encounters a young girl in the elevator and strikes up a friendship. We get a couple of scenes with them, including a slumber party where she uses Pat Benatar lyrics to motivate the girls. What is notable about this is that the little girl is played by Renee Olstead who is currently starring on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and more importantly, a jazz singer…and a damn good one! Go youtube her and be blown away!

What didn’t I like?

Mood swing. At the pivotal 13th birthday party for young Jenna, she suddenly starts treating her best friend like crap, just because the cool girl clic, the “Six Chicks” were in attendance. When they trick her into going into the closet and expecting the hot guy at school, she is enraged to find out they left and that her friend, who grows up to be Mark Ruffalo (long before he becomes the Hulk). For some reason, she freaks out on him, throws the dollhouse he spent 3 weeks making for her at him, and says she never wants to see him again. We learn that she really never did speak to him again and went on to become a bitch.

Dance. At the magazine party, no one seems to be having any fun. This is why Andy Serkis’ character (yes, the guy does appear as himself in this film, and not motion capture) asks her to save it. So, she asks the DJ to play ‘Thriller”. I don’t know what kind of dances and whatnot you may have been to, but when that or some other really popular and danceable song comes on, you almost immediately start dancing. These people just stood there. Had it not been for Garner’s quick thinking to bring in Mark Ruffalo’s character, which started the snowball effect and people finally started having fun, I don’t believe they would have done anything but stand there wanting to get out there and dance, but instead just standing there.

Girly. I think it is safe to say that this is a “chick flick”. The way the focus is so much on the girls and the problems they have is more than obvious, but what leads me to categorize it that way is the way Ruffalo’s character is treated. In the time that isn’t covered in the film, I’m sure Garner’s character teased, flirted, and turned him down every which way she could, totally forgetting the friendship they once had. This is the kind of stuff that is always played up in romantic comedies, albeit with gender roles reversed. With all the imaginative things that happen in this film, you’d think they could have done something more interesting with those two.

I can’t help but think of Big while watching 13 Going on 30. The films may be totally different, but they are similar at the same time. I think I have to categorize this as a guilty pleasure film for me. By all accounts, I shouldn’t like it as much as I do, but I always come back for more. My personal affinity for it aside, I have to say that it is worth a high recommendation. So, unless you have something against magical wishing dust, then give it a go, why don’t you?

4 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: