13 Going on 30 on DVD
We thought this movie was going to be a ripoff of the Tom Hanks vehicle Big,
an enjoyable flick from 1988.
It isnt. While the concept of a kid waking up as an adult is similar,
13 Going on 30 is its own beast, a surprisingly good movie about choices and
their consequences, peer pressure, and more. It uses the waking up big
gimmick as a way to tackle some serious issues, while making you smile, laugh
and even moistening your eyes a couple of times.
Jennifer Garner, who is absolutely outstanding in the role, is the adult Jenna
Rink. But before we get to her were treated to a wonderful performance
from Christa B. Allen as the young Jenna. Shes the ugly duckling to Garners
swan, the plain girl who dreams of being part of the in crowd and
who will do just about anything to be accepted.
So much so that for her 13th birthday party she has to bribe the hot
girls to attend her party. And they do show up, but Jenna ends up humiliated
and the last thing she does before waking up big, is to insult,
humiliate in turn and ultimately push away her one true friend, a boy named
Matt (the young Sean Marquette and the adult Mark Ruffalo).
Jenna is an unhappy child and she wants desperately to be 30 so she can be
mature, beautiful and successful. And, obviously, she gets that wish and the
rest of the movie teaches her to be careful what she wishes for.
So she wakes up at the age of 30. But this isnt an older Jenna suddenly
finding herself in young Jennas world. Jenna has in fact jumped forward
17 years in time, to the present day world in which the 30 year old Jenna lives.
Shes stunned, confused, and frightened. Mature Jenna has a life, a solid
timeline that leads directly from that closet in her parents home where
she made her wish to the current life about which she knows absolutely nothing.
And shes still her pubescent self inside, and is completely shocked to
find a naked man (her real life boyfriend) in her apartment, a guy
who's blisslfully unaware that anythings different about Jenna that particular
She also learns that she has a high profile and high pressure career as a magazine
editor and that her best friend is the same woman who was the leader of the
gang of chicks of which she had wanted to be a part when she was turning 13.
She does fine in her new life, but she doesnt like it. It turns out that
the Jenna she grew up to be is a rather poisonous person, the antithesis of
the young Jenna. Yet she learns through the course of the story that this is
exactly the Jenna she built herself (shades of the chains hauled around by the
ghost of Jacob Marley) starting on that fateful day of her 13th birthday.
She disgusts herself and she hates her life but may have one chance
at salvation: Matty! She seeks him out and basically forces him to befriend
her again and they build the type of relationship she really wants.
Or so she desperately hopes. But Matty has moved on and is now engaged to be
How will it turn out? We wont spoil it for you, but the movie does unfold
in a very satisfactory way and other than the fantasy of traveling through time
its quite believable.
Speaking of believable, we really give high marks to Jennifer Garner and Christa
B. Allen. Allen is heartbreaking as the plain girl who wants to soar, a wonderfully
believable performance. And Garner, well what can we say? She had us convinced
within seconds that she was really 13 inside and we never lost that suspension
of disbelief through the rest of the movie. A remarkable performance.
The supporting cast, which includes Judy Greer and Andy Serkis (who readers
may remember as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings
trilogy though his physical presence was replaced by a CG character),
is also excellent.
The screenplay and direction also work for the film and what were left
with is a funny and touching movie were really glad we saw. And we didnt
expect much going in.
The special edition DVD is pretty good. The picture is presented in anamorphic
widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, and for the most part the picture is very good.
The image is generally very sharp and clean and the colors are excellent. Alas,
theres some noticeable grain in some scenes, but it wont spoil your
enjoyment of this remarkable movie.
Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, though there isnt a lot of surround,
but the overall quality is very good. Bass response is fine and the music tracks
used as background sound very good as well.
The bottom line is that this probably wont be used as a reference disc
to sell widescreen TVs in the manner of such titles as the Superbit Fifth
Element, but its easily good enough for those interested in merely watching
a good movie well presented.
You get quite a selection of extras, too. First up is a running commentary
by director Gary Winick, as well as another one by producers Susan Arnold, Gina
Matthews, and Donna Roth.
You also get 18 deleted scenes and a blooper reel as well as a featurette I
Was a Teenage Geek which features a look at the high school years of some
cast members including Jennifer Garner herself. The Making of a Teen Dream
gives you interviews with the talent behind the camera and you also get music
videos of songs used in the movie: Pat Benatar's Love Is a Battlefield
and Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl.
Theres also a gallery of stills and a couple of set top features: The
80's Outfit Challenge and Then and Now.
13 Going on 30, from Columbia Tristar home Entertainment
98 min. anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis
Produced by Susan Arnold and Donna Arkoff Roth
Written by Josh Goldsmith & Cathy Yuspa, directed by Gary Winick
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