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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

13 Going On 30

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Judy Thorburn

"13 Going On 30" Is A Charming Fantasy For All Ages

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“13 Going on 30” reminds me of my younger years when I turned into a teenager, but couldn’t wait to become an adult.  From my point of view being older meant the grass was so much greener.  As I look back, I realize those words “if I only knew then what I know now” could not be truer.

Of course, we also know the phrase “Be careful what you wish for. It might come true.”  No one ever thinks of the ramifications.  That would certainly depend on what, indeed, the wish was for. It makes a great plot device used in many movies.  “Big” comes to mind as the film which landed Tom Hanks his first Academy Award nomination as the fulfillment of a young boy’s wish to become “big”, as in adult.  It was just a matter of time that Hollywood would come up with a female take on that premise.

That estrogen version is here starring Jennifer Garner in her first big screen lead role.  I doubt it will grab her an Oscar, but she does show her versatility to handle a variety of roles other than her kick ass female action hero in TV’s spy thriller, Alias. No doubt Garner can meet the physical demands of any part. Where her dramatic Alias role calls for marshal arts and other fighting techniques, Jennifer proves that she has what it takes to be a physical comedienne if it calls for pratfalls and slapstick silliness, a requirement for this movie.

The story begins in 1987 where young Rick Springfield fan, Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen) just wants to fit in with the snobby “six chicks” in school and be cool. So, on her thirteenth birthday she invites the girls, led by the conniving Lucy, to a party in the basement of her home in order to make them her friends.  But, things don’t work out as planned, when Lucy locks Jenna in the closet under the impression of playing “Seven Minutes in Heaven”, a game where a blindfolded Jenna waits for the cute boy to kiss her. Instead, everyone leaves. But Matt, Jenna’s next-door neighbor and chubby best friend, who secretly has a crush on her, comes to the rescue, but is disappointed by her reaction when the blindfold comes off.  Left alone, Jenna, with the help of “wishing dust”, makes a wish to be all grown up and have the life she’s always dreamed of.

Presto. The next day she awakes with her wish granted. Only it’s now 17 years later, 2004, and she is a thirty year old.   Hello, Jennifer!   She’s not only gorgeous, but has a great job at a hip magazine called “Poise”, a fabulous Fifth Avenue apartment, and an office with pictures on the wall showing her hanging with stars like Madonna.  Glamour, fame, and fortune.  Sounds like she has it all.  But, is this the life she really wanted? Besides, she has no memory of how she got there.

Jenna at 30 soon finds out she’s got a hunky boyfriend, her best friend and colleague at Poise is Lucy (Judy Greer), and her old confidante Matt, has been out of her life for years. After tracking Matt down, she discovers he is now a slimmed down cutie (Mark Ruffalo, a far cry from the “kinky” cop he played in “In The Cut”) headed for the altar.  What’s worse, Jenna learns that she isn’t a nice person, having had an affair with a married man, a co-worker’s husband. And, Lucy is still the same despicable, back stabbing character that can’t be trusted.  When Richard (Andy Sertis, Lord of the Ring’s Gollum)), Jenna’s boss at Poise, gives his staff an assignment to come up with a new marketing campaign to outshine “Sparkle”, their competitor, Lucy’s true colors come out as she comes up with a plan to steal Jenna’s ideas. The question is how can the grownup Jenna use the 13 year old in her to make things right, especially when she realizes she may be losing the love of her life, Matt.

What Going on 30 lacks in originality it makes up in entertainment value.  Some of the sequences, although clearly unrealistic, are enjoyable and fun to watch.  When Jenna goes to a party in desperate need of help, she asks the DJ to play Michael Jackson’s Thriller and gets everyone to join in as she reenacts the video dance number. The retro music and dancing is lively and contagious. And Garner’s sparkling performance evokes just the right mixture of effervescent innocence and childish glee without pushing it over the top. She is a total delight, especially when interacting with her young neighbor, who the inner 13-year-old Jenna sees as a peer, or watching her excited reaction when she realizes she now has the boobs of a hot older babe.

Add a fine cast and a great retro soundtrack and you have a charming movie that throws in a nice little message about what’s really important in life.  And, if nothing else, Jennifer Garner is the BEST reason to catch this film. Her captivating star quality shines through and she possesses that same charisma that launched Julia Roberts into superstardom.  It appears to me, the “pretty woman” needs to pass the torch.

One thing is for sure -13 Going on 30 will “garner” the attention Jennifer deserves.