ninth symphony films - movie reviews

13 GOING ON 30 (2004)

DIRECTOR  -  garry winick

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  romantic comedy

LENGTH  -  97 minutes

RELEASED  -  23 april 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  sony pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  13 going on 30

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $37,000,000
13 going on 30 - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from 13 going on 30 at

buy the dvd from 13 going on 30 at

an unhappy 13 year old girl makes a wish to be thirty on her thirteenth birthday and wakes up thirty years old the next day.

renee zellweger was considered for the lead role.


picture from 13 going on 30

picture from 13 going on 30

picture from 13 going on 30

picture from 13 going on 30


three out of four possible stars

Undergoing a complete 180 degree turn from her cult-favorite television show character Sydney on the ABC show, "Alias," actress Jennifer Garner proves that her talents lie not only with her martial arts abilities. With her enthusiastic performances as "Jenna Rink," a gawky girl given the chance to peek at her thirty-year-old self, Garner is flamboyant and effervescent in a film whose script seems to contain a few too many coincidences. Does her performance have the ability to make audiences forget about the plot's familiarity?

For audience members wanting to see violent, blood-spattering action epics, this film might be a pass, but for fans of the innocent and silly comedies that have made stars out of actors such as Kate Hudson (in 2003's How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days), this film will probably be a fine experience. The screenwriters (there are three of them) definitely programmed the film to feel like the latest everyday romantic comedy. Whirlwind romantic comedies set in New York City have seemingly become a genre all their own over the years, with the city itself usually playing an impressive visual role in the film. 13 Going On 30 is no exception, as audiences will be treated to cast members who live in impressively large residences and have even more impressive wardrobes.

Anyone who was a teenager during the generally badly-dressed 1980's will probably find themselves rather sick with remembrances of the tumultuous time between 12 and 13, when high school loomed in the near future and life was usually turned catawampus by popularity contests, acne, and pubescent school dances. The 1980ís seem to loom not only in the film's 1987, but also during the time spent in the present, when Garner is portraying a thirteen year old girl in the body of a thirty year old woman. In what can only be a vote in her favor, Garner actually seems to progress from an unsure teenager into a more mature teenager as the film wears on, rather than letting go completely of that thirteen year old persona.

Although she is much more the awkward thirteen year old in the beginning of the film, relying heavily on physical comedy to get her point across (there is much wobbly walking, tripping, and sliding as Jenna gets used to her new body), Garner keeps that sense of wide-eyed innocence that only thirteen year olds seem to have for the entire run of the film. She utilizes her voice and body equally to pull the charade off and plays the role extremely well and is an entirely believable thirteen year old.

It seems worth pointing out that the first half of the film is quite filled with the jokes audience members will have seen in the theatrical trailer, so seeing so many jokes one will probably have already seen a half dozen times in television spots is disappointing. But perhaps loading a trailer with the best and brightest jokes a film possesses is a necessary evil of movie trailers. Most disappointment in the quantity of fresh jokes (not included in the trailer) should evaporate by the second half as the trailer really seems to cover only the first half of the film. So rest assured, when you're two reels into the film and you've seen every joke twice, relax knowing that new stuff will shortly come around.

The supporting cast is well-chosen, with Mark Ruffalo providing a heartwarming performance as Garner's love interest, "Matt." Garner and Ruffalo have a suitable amount of chemistry with one another, though it would have been beneficial to see them interact romantically more often over the course of the film. Judy Greer, despite having to utter some of the most exposition-tainted dialogue in the film, gives a zealous performance as Garner's co-worker and friend, "Lucy." Andy Serkis, playing the executive editor of the magazine for with Greer and Garner work is as enthusiastic as is to be expected, and bears no resemblance to his Rings persona (proving that he has talent beyond his ability to covet a very dangerous ring).

The film's biggest (and perhaps only) problem is its plot. The jokes and one-liners are handled exceedingly well by all of the cast and the romantic scenes are genuinely romantic. The two basics in this romantic comedy score home runs are far as entertainment value is concerned. But the film's writers repeatedly asks too much of viewers regarding how characters just "happen" to do something that pushes the plot in a different direction. For example, would somebody really leave blatant, incriminating evidence in the top, unlocked drawer of a desk for any nosy person to come upon? It's a stretch to believe someone might be so careless. It's difficult to forgive the film's ardent plotting (they really tried too hard), but if romantic comedy is your game, the film should win you over by the end.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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