Jennifer Garner's newest film, 13
Going on 30, cements her as one
of Hollywood's brightest new stars. She possesses an enthusiasm for performing
that's engaging without ever coming off as fake or calculated. While the movie
isn't going to win any awards for originality or innovation, it's a sweet and
harmless romantic fantasy that definitely hits all the right marks for sappiness
Going on 30 (2004)
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo,
and Kathy Baker
Jenna Risk is a bright twelve-year-old
girl who finds herself unattractive. She wants to skip the awkward years
of puberty and jump right to being "thirty,
flirty and successful" as a woman's magazine she reads puts it. Since
she can't fast-forward through time, she thinks the key to being popular and
attractive is to be accepted into a clique of girls known as the "Six
Chicks." Her best friend, Matt, doesn't understand why she'd want to give
up being an authentic and cool person just to fit in with the plastic popular
girls. At Jenna's thirteenth birthday, a prank pulled by the "Six Chicks" sets
into motion a chain of events that gives Jenna her wish: She wakes up a sexy
and successful thirty-year-old but she doesn't remember how she it all came
The older Jenna (Jennifer Garner) finds herself in a relationship with a dumb
hockey player, estranged from her best friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) and working
as a editor at a popular magazine. As she struggles to come to grips with what's
happened, she also discovers that while she may have gotten everything she'd
ever dreamed about as a child -- a great job, a big house, etc -- she isn't
very happy or a nice person. She sets out to find Matt and set things right.
As I said, the plot isn't particularly
original. Jennifer Garner's performance is the sole reason the movie works.
She has such an obviously good time in
her role and is able to convey the awkwardness of a thirteen-year-old in a
thirty-year-old body so well that I had a tough time not smiling throughout
the entire movie. Mark Ruffalo is also exceptional as the best friend who was
passed over by Jenna. He plays the dissappointed and dejected Matt quite effectively.
Andy Serkis, the man who "played" Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies, is also wonderful as Richard, Jenna's harried editor-in-chief.
Going on 30 is as charming as a romantic comedy with fantasy elements
can possibly be in this day and age. Jennifer Garner shows that 2004 and
the years beyond are
definitely going to be good for her.
Trivia: Renée Zellweger was
considered for the lead role. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)