13 GOING ON 30

Genre: Comedy
Director: Gary Winick
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis, Kathy Baker
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG

Released Date: 26 August 2004


It is 1987 and Jenna is a 13-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood. The problem is that adulthood is just not arriving fast enough. She's suffocated by her dorky parents, ignored by the hip kids in school and the cute guy she has a crush on, barely knows her name. No longer content to spend time only with her best friend and neighbor, Matt Flamhaff, Jenna invites the cool kids to her 13th birthday party. But the party is a disaster. Jenna is humiliated when she's locked in the closet for a game of "Seven Minutes in Heaven" and everyone deserts her. Alone in the closet, Jenna makes an earnest wish. If only she could be all grown up, she'd have the life she's always wanted. Miraculously, her wish comes true. The next day, it's 2004 and she's 30-years old. What's more, she is a gorgeous successful woman (Jennifer Garner) with a great job and a fabulous Fifth Avenue apartment. She is finally cool and popular. The only hitch? She has absolutely no idea how she got there. Initially frightened but gradually enchanted by her new life, Jenna soon realizes there's something missing - Matt. When she looks him up, she is horrified to discover that she and Matt (Mark Ruffalo) are no longer in contact and he is engaged to be married. Jenna learns that having it all is not enough and decides to take a second chance at first love. Now her biggest wish is that it's not too late.


This film bears a striking resemblance with films such as Tom Hank’s “Big” and Jamie Lee Curtis’s “Freaky Fridays”. Nonetheless, the originality of the plot matters not when the cast manage to pull your heartstrings at each and every turn.

One plus point about the show was that it doesn’t dwell on the silly time travel element. Instead of abusing special effects or advance physic theories, it presents a plot filled with morale and ethical issues in all stages in life. In a clever way, the film manages to squeeze in a truckload of overdone life advice in 1 1/2 hours of candy floss movie.

Jennifer Garner shone in the role as a “fish out of water”. She was awkwardly clumsy yet surprisingly charming in her role as the 13-year-old trapped in the 30-year-old body. She accomplished all the right mannerisms of a 13 year old and yet manages to not go over-the-top or too cute on the audience. Mark Ruffalo, recently seen as the unlucky policeman in Collateral, plays Jenna’s best friend, Matt who been there for Jenna most of the time. Both Mark and Jennifer were able to strike a spark of believable chemistry between both of them with the right affection without being overly sexual.

Initially, I didn’t want to catch this film. The reasons being that this is a girly teenager film filled with the typical Hollywood Cliché formulaic predicaments plot (that are done to death) and I am not really a fan of Jennifer Garner. But I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the film. The film seems to target the girls aging from 12 to 18 but I am sure working ladies who have to face with everyday workplace problems will find no problem relating to this film. I had fun watching this and would like to recommend this film to guys as a simple romantic comedy that is not over-ambitious and isn’t likely to fall flat on its face.

Movie Rating:

Review by Richard Lim Jr

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