“I wanna be thirty.”
When we are younger all we want is to be older. We think by the time we hit about twenty-five we will be successful, be living out on our own in a great apartment somewhere in New York City working a job that we love. Well, that was my dream anyway. I had hoped that by the time I was twenty-seven, which I am now, that I would at least have a full time job somewhere and living out on my own and be comfortable. Instead I am twenty-seven working two shit part time jobs and living at home. I blame that dream on the movies and society. 13 Going on 30 takes a look at what our dreams are when we are younger of being older and shows that being an adult is not really all it is cracked up to be.
Jenna Rink is thirteen years old which would put her in probably middle school. Middle school and being thirteen is tough especially when all you want is to be popular and look unrealistically perfect and pretty all the time. Jenna has a friend named Matt. They are neighbors and are best friends. But Jenna desperately wants to be friends with a girl called Tom-Tom and her group the Six Chicks. For her thirteenth birthday she invites the group over and also some of the football players that Tom-Tom said she could bring. Tom-Tom manipulates Jenna into doing a homework assignment for her so she will go to the party.
Before the party starts Matt comes over with his cute gift to Jenna. He made her a Jenna Dream House, similar to a Barbie Dream House. In this house are all the best records and snacks and Rick Springfield. Matt also sprinkles wishing dust on the house. Their moment is broken when the doorbell rings and the Six Chicks arrive along with the football players. Everyone stares at Matt being a dork dancing to a Talking Heads song. Tom-Tom says something nasty to Matt and when Matt tells Jenna he is going to get his keyboard she says the same thing Tom-Tom said to him. Tom-Tom has Jenna go into a closet to play seven minutes in heaven with one of the football players. She is evil and makes it a joke. She blindfolds Jenna, puts her in the closet and grabs some snacks and all the popular kids head out. Matt comes back just as everyone is leaving and Tom-Tom tells him that Jenna is in the closet waiting for him. When Matt holds Jenna’s hands to lift her up she is still blindfolded and thinks it is the popular football player lifting her. Matt gets pissed and Jenna gets upset. She slams the door, sits down, down and starts crying. She rocks against the shelf the dream house is on and wishing dust falls down as she says she wants to be “I wish I thirty, flirty, and thriving.”
Next thing Jenna (now played by Jennifer Garner) really is thirty. She wakes up in a strange apartment with a strange naked man in her shower! Mentally she is still thirteen years old living in 1987, physically she is tall and pretty with great clothes. Jenna is picked up by her co-worker Lucy (Judy Greer) and they are driven to their job at Poise Magazine. Jenna cannot believe that she is working for her favorite magazine. In her office she sees how successful she has become, she is floored when she sees that she is friends with Madonna.
As the story progresses Jenna finds that she did not grow up into a very nice person. She and Matt (now played by Mark Ruffalo) have not been friends since her thirteenth birthday party, she has stepped on a lot of toes to get where she is, she is having an affair with a married man, and she was working to bring down her favorite magazine. All of Jenna’s efforts to right the wrongs she did backfires.
But of course this being a romantic comedy and a chick flick there is a happy ending where Jenna and Matt wind up together.
I remember clear as day seeing 13 Going on 30 twice opening weekend. I was sixteen. I actually remember my mom dropping me and my friends off at the movie theater the first night it played. When I was sixteen I was massively over the top obsessed with Jennifer Garner and her TV show Alias. I still love and adore Jennifer Garner to no end and even Alias but when I say obsessed I mean obsessed (watch my video review for the movie. There is part where you will see my full blown Alias/Jennifer Garner obsession). I remember the first time I saw the movie and I saw how sweet and adorable Garner was and thinking I am so not used to seeing her be all cute and sweet I am used to seeing her tough and serious and kicking ass. Then after seeing the movie a second time I thought how the hell am I going to watch Alias (when it was on Sunday nights) now I am used to seeing her be all sweet and adorable! If I were to ramble on about my admiration for Jennifer Garner you would be reading about four more pages of this review (as I said watch my video review) so I will just stop here. Actually let me just say that Garner was brilliant she was so fantastic as Jenna.
The rest of the cast was great. This was the first time I had ever seen Mark Ruffalo in a movie! I never knew who he was before this. Judy Greer was a good not-so-nice character. This was also the first time I had ever seen Andy Serkis outside of hearing his voice for Golem in Lord of the Rings. He was funny I cracked up when he danced to Thriller.
I have three favorite scenes from this movie that I must mention. The first is when thirteen year old Jenna is reading an article in Poise called Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving and she tells her mom that she wants to be like the models she sees. Her mom responds “Those aren’t people, honey, those are models.” I like this because later on in the movie Jenna makes a campaign for the magazine and says something along the lines that she wants to put models and take photos of people that she would recognize in real life, they would be real people. Those two lines and scenes have stuck with me ever since because that is what I look for whenever I read a magazine. The next scene that I absolutely love is when everyone dances to Thriller. Jennifer Garner just kills it in the adorable department and now when I hear Thriller I immediately yell out “Matty it’s Thriller!” ha ha.
I know I have written in the past about how much I hate rom coms and chick flicks but 13 Going on 30 will forever be one of only three rom coms and chick flicks I will willingly watch (along with How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and 27 Dresses). I have such great memories of seeing it when it was released and being totally obsessed with Alias. Even though it put the awful idea in my head that I must be “thriving” and “successful” by age thirty and so far I am not on that path, I still love it and everything it has to say about being an adult. 13 Going on 30 is a chick flick and I will only suggest watching it to those who like chick flicks or who may really, really like Jennifer Garner.
PS: if you have never watched Alias WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! If you like Agent Carter as both a show and character watch Alias. If you like tough ass female characters you idolize Sydney Britstow.