Jenna Rink is just a normal thirteen year old kid who canít wait to grow up, be popular, and live the life of her dreams. She reads fashion magazines and is drawn into the lure of being ěthirty, flirty, and thriving.î But when she invites the popular kids to her thirteenth birthday party and scorns her usual best friend Matt, she ends up playing an embarrassing game ěSeven Minutes in Heavenî that turns out to catapult her into thirty year old dream life.
When the magic dust from the Dream House, made by her friend Matt, morphs her into her 30 year old self her wish is fulfilled. She has a fabulous apartment in Manhattan and a great job as an editor of ěPoiseî, the magazine she always read as a child. She is swimming with the sharks and doing a successful job of it. But when she discovers that Matt and she are no longer in touch, she is horrified. She hunts him down and when they reconnect she becomes aware of what she has become. She realizes that she got everything she thought she wanted as a 13 year-old.
It even turns out that she is working, and best friends, with the leader of the popular girls group ěThe Six Chicksî from middle school. She is delighted, initially, but finally realizes that this is not the life she wants, this is the life she thought she wanted. She has joined and become part of the people who betray her and the magazine that undermines women. She has been estranged from her parents, and lost sight of what is really important in life.
This is the first teenage movie Iíve seen that comments on the effect that fashion magazines can have on girls; how the photographs of perfect models chip away at our self-esteem. Jennifer Garner, who plays Jenna, is lovely and does a nice job most of the time, although some of the scenes seem a little stilted. This movie has been compared to Big with Tom Hanks. The premise of a child being catapulted into adulthood is similar, but Bigís grown-up character played by Tom Hanks delighted with his innocent demeanor and the funny situations he got into.
One of the high points of this movie is seeing Andy Serkis, who ěplayedî the infamous Gollum/SmČagol in the Lord of the Rings movies, play Richard, Jennaís boss. Itís weird, seeing someone who played a small, evil, hobbit-thingie; fill the roll of the Jenna Rinkís boss. Unfortunately, there was no hint of any of his ěGollum Voiceî, but he does do a great job.
Jennifer Garner is sweet and likeable in her role, and this movie is definitely a nice one. ě13 going on 30î is slightly edgy, while still keeping its original sweetness. This is a good one for anyone who has ever been thirteen. The end is typically Hollywood, but the journey to the end is pretty fun.
This is Natalie Johnson for movie magazine.
© 2004 - Natalie Johnson - Air Date: 5/5/04
13 Going On 30
USA - 2004