[box cover]

13 Going on 30

Ask any 30-year-old woman if she'd like to be 13 again, and chances are she'll start laughing hysterically. The cliques, the self-doubt, the heartache — 13 is for chumps. So it's no wonder that, after a disastrous thirteenth birthday party in 1987, gawky Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen) wishes with all her might that she could be "thirty, flirty, and thriving" (a phrase borrowed from her favorite magazine, Poise). Thanks to some sparkly wishing dust given to her by her besotted best friend Matty (Sean Marquette), Jenna gets her wish, waking up in a fabulous Manhattan apartment (and in Jennifer Garner's Alias-toned body) on the verge of her thirtieth birthday, with no memory of the last 17 years of her life. After her initial freak-out, Jenna starts getting a handle on her new life, and at first she likes what she sees. Not only is she pretty and well-dressed, but she's actually an editor at Poise — and to top it all off, her best friend is Lucy (up-and-comer Judy Greer), the coolest girl in kid Jenna's late-'80s world. But as the full details of her grown-up self emerge, Jenna quickly becomes disenchanted: It turns out she's a selfish, shallow bitch who doesn't mind trampling on people's feelings (or having flings with their husbands) if it helps her get what she wants. Scared and confused, Jenna turns to her old friend Matt (played by Mark Ruffalo as an adult) for help, only to discover that she dropped him like a hot potato shortly after unlucky #13. That convinces her that something went wrong somewhere, so she makes it her mission to get her life (and their friendship) back on track. Often called "Big for girls," 13 Going on 30 (2004) does have a lot in common with Penny Marshall's hit, not the least of which is a charismatic star in the lead. Garner may not quite be in the same league as Tom Hanks, but she's got more than enough charm to carry a romantic comedy. By giving Jenna's emotions free reign in her expressions and body language, Garner really makes us believe she's a teenager trapped in a grown-up's body. Ruffalo also does nice work as Matt, thawing inevitably as Jenna directs her charm at him, but afraid to have his heart broken again. Another stand-out in the supporting cast is Andy Serkis as Jenna's dapper boss, Richard. 13 Going on 30 isn't an instant classic like Big, but it's better than most of the romantic comedies coming out of Hollywood these days, and that's cause enough for celebration. Columbia offers the film in a nice anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with strong Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (a French track is also available, as are English and French subtitles). The healthy extras list includes two commentaries (one by a trio of producers, the other by director Gary Winick), 18 deleted/extended scenes (mostly the latter), a run-of-the-mill "making-of" featurette, the amusing "I Was a Teenage Geek" featurette (Garner et. al. recall their high school years), a so-so blooper reel, two interactive games, music videos for Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" and Rick Springfield's "Jessie's girl," a video still gallery, and previews. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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