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13 Going on 30

13 Going on 30

What she said:

She

I think of 13 Going on 30 as Big for the chick population.  It’s practically the same concept, a kid trapped in an adult body.  And yet, while this movie could feel very overdone, it doesn’t to me;  1.) Because I’m a chick and relate to a female lead and 2.) Because it’s filled with fresh comedy that gives it a leg to stand on.

Here are your basics:  Jenna Rink is a super sweet 13 year old.  She’s just on the brink of teenager-dom, but still has some of the innocence of a kid.  She’s become aware of the hierarchy of the junior high world around her, though, and so she’s desperately craving to become one of the popular chicks.  Her best friend and next door neighbor, Matty, finds no appeal in the popular clique.  He’s a bit more progressive than that, listening to different music, dabbling in photography, and spending most of his time crushing on Jenna.  Of course, she’s oblivious.  Anyway, when things don’t go her way on her birthday Jenna wishes that she was 30, and boom, she wakes up as Jennifer Garner.  Well, not Jennifer Garner, actually, but a 30 year old version of herself played by Garner.  Not remembering anything that’s happened, Jenna has to navigate her new high-glam life in the big city in an adult’s body, but with the mind and memories of a 13 year old.  She begins to realize that the life she had dreamt for herself is not necessarily the one she truly wants.

Garner really makes this movie work.  Like I said, the concept has been done, but Garner plays Jenna so convincingly that you become absolutely captivated by her.  She’s so innocent and naïve, particularly next to her evil frenemy, Lucy Wyman, played by Judy Greer.  It’s fun to watch Garner acclimate herself to life as a 30 year old in 2004, which includes cell phones, adult parties, and yes, men.  The charm that Garner injects into the character makes her wholly convincing.  Mark Ruffalo plays the adult Matt, who has become a professional photographer also living in NYC.  The only thing I found truly fishy about him is why he didn’t immediately have Jenna institutionalized when she first came to him acting completely nuts.  But old crushes die hard, I guess, and he just wanted to be around her.

The movie is super light, with the only relatively deeper theme being to find value in the smaller things.  In fact, I’d say this movie is perfect for 14-15 year old girls.  They can watch it with their moms.  It still works for me at twice that age, but some may be a little cynical to fall for all of the movie’s charm.  Men may find the movie painful at times because it is so cutesy.

Thumbs up for the ladies.

What he said:

He

I had only seen this movie once several years ago – so I never really thought about it until now – but when my partner said this is Big for girls, I had to agree. Like Big, this is about a kid who wishes to grow up and what do you know, she gets her wish! Next thing she knows, she is an editor for a big time fashion magazine in New York City.

Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen) is a typical 13 year old girl. She is a pretty doe-eyed compared to a lot of other girls her age. This is good and bad. Good, because she hasn’t lost her innocence yet, bad, because she’s about to. She’s best friends with next door neighbor Matty (Sean Marquette).  Matty likes her, but is perfectly content being just friends. Jenna doesn’t really seem to notice and is more focused on growing up and becoming popular. She invites a bunch of the popular kids to her birthday party and in a less-than-shining moment begins treating Matty as poorly as the popular kids do. Additionally, she turns on him and blames him when the popular kids ditch her party for a “cooler” alternative. Jenna is upset about the whole thing, makes a wish and it actually comes true.

Much to her confusion, she wakes up in a swanky apartment and finds out she has the boyfriend and job of her dreams. The only thing is she doesn’t remember the last 17 years. Her wish came true and she totally skips the rest of her childhood and is a 30-year old woman (now played by Jennifer Garner). She’s super confused and not to mention still mentally a 13-year old. Hilarity ensues. I mean that too. You may think because this is the chick flick version of Big that I was being snarky, but I wasn’t. This is a funny movie and the absolute biggest reason this movie works is that because – much like Tom Hanks in Big – Jennifer Garner is totally convincing as a 13-year old stuck in a 30-year old body.  She’s awkward, clumsy, and very innocent. It is a very believable and charming performance. I laughed more than a few times at her whole stranger in a strange land shtick. The movie simply would not have worked without her performance.

Anyways, Jenna is as confused as she can get and is trying to piece together those lost years of her life. She eventually finds her former best friend (now played by Mark Ruffalo). He thinks she is completely insane, but is drawn to her because despite ending their friendship on bad terms, you can tell he really missed his childhood friend.

Jenna also finds out that she is now coworkers and best buds with former enemy and popular girl Lucy Wyman (Judy Greer). Judy Greer isn’t a household name, but she’s pretty damn funny in these supporting roles as the zainy – if not totally insane – character. She’s been on Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, and a ton of other stuff over recent years.  

This is a very light, but entertaining movie. It has that kind of magical quality that some of the comedies with some of the more “out there” premises many 80s movies did.  It reminds me of things like Big, Innerspace, or Short Circuit.  Ladies, if you’re looking for something light to brighten your day, this could do the trick. Fellas, seriously, it could be worse. There are some painful chick flicks out there and this isn’t one of them. Plus Jennifer Garner is easy on the eyes. Man up and take one for the team, you may even enjoy it.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on April 12, 2012

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