13 Going on 30 (2004)

Jennifer Garner as Jenna Rink in 13 Going On 30

It's Not Big but it is Freaky

"13 Going on 30" is one of those movies that takes the tried and tested idea of a child suddenly becoming an adult and dealing with the adult world but with a child like innocence. This idea has been explored in countless movies such as "Big" and "Vice Versa" and although "13 Going on 30" doesn't really add anything new to the concept, it still comes across as an enjoyable light hearted movie, a pleasant watch with a memorable scene or two but not a lot else.

For Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner - Daredevil) becoming a teenager in the 80s is not a fun affair as she struggles to fit in with the hip girls at her school. After a disastrous 13th birthday party, where she is tricked into kissing her best friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo - In the Cut), she wishes that she could be 30 and flirty and thriving. The next morning Jenna wakes up in a strange bed with a naked man next to her, and on top of this, she has become a 30 year old over night. Struggling to understand what has suddenly happened, she also has to quickly adjust to a world which has radically changed since 1987. Thrown into a world where she is a high powered editor of a woman's magazine, she goes in search of her best friend Matt for help.

Andy Serkis and Jennifer Garner in the Thriller Dance Scene in 13 Going On 30

"13 Going on 30" centres on the character of Jenna, a 30 year old with the mindset and innocence of a 13 year old, who has to deal with a world which is vastly different to the one she remembers from the 80s. With this we get too watch some fun scenes as she tackles the modern world through the eyes of a teenager who is still stuck in the 80s. One scene which really stands out is when she tries to liven up a party for her magazine, by getting everyone on the dance floor dancing in unison to Thriller by Michael Jackson. It's amusing and the stand out, memorable scene from the movie.

Although "13 Going on 30" is primarily aimed at a teenage audience who will enjoy the fantasy of growing up over night, there is a lot appeal for an older audience with its regular references to the 80s which make you laugh at either the fond memories, or the horror of the bygone era. It also makes you laugh as you watch the complicated world of an adult, simplified by the innocence of a 13 year old as she deals with issues such as dating and friendship.

In the lead role of Jenna is Jennifer Garner and her very good performance is part of the reason why "13 Going on 30" is so enjoyable. Through her performance she displays the awkwardness that Jenna feels as she comes to term with all the nasty things she does, such as having an affair with a married man, but also displays a childlike innocence with her approach to life. Opposite Garner, as her best friend Matt, is Mark Ruffalo whose on screen chemistry with Garner comes across as reasonably realistic. It is down to the performances from Garner and Ruffalo that "13 Going on 30" manages to stand up as an enjoyable movie even though the basis of the story is predictable and unoriginal.

From the supporting cast, the only person who really stands out is Andy Serkis as Jenna's boss. His performance as he gets on the dance floor to join in the fun of dancing to Thriller is brilliant.

"13 Going on 30"is directed by Gary Winick, who always had a massive task of creating a movie which would automatically be compared to its superior predecessor "Big". Although he has not added anything new to this type of movie, he has done a good job of transferring it into a more modern environment. The soundtrack to "13 Going on 30" is great fun and takes you on a trip down memory lane with songs such as "Thriller", "Jessie's Girl", "Burning Down the House" and "Ice Ice Baby".

What this all oils down to is that although "13 Going on 30" covers the same ground that many other movies have taken, and is somewhat predictable, it is still a good, fun movie, which will appeal to a wide range of viewers. Predominantly aimed at a teenage audience, it will still appeal to anyone who has memories of the 80s, in particular the music. Anyone who is looking for a fun, light-hearted comedy which they can watch with all the family will definitely enjoy this.