Film reviews

13 Going On 30, Dir; Guy Winick, Cert; 12a

Let me be honest here – if you are, in fact, a thirteen year old girl, you probably will enjoy this film a lot, as the film’s target audience (i.e. YOU) is showered with cheese, schmaltz and a double helping of sugar coated goo. Just the way adolescent girls like it. Um…allegedly…

For the rest of us though, the puke-o-meter rises a little too high throughout the course of the movie for it to merit much praise.

Anyway, on to the main synopsis, which is typical Hollywood fare. With the film set in the 1980s, thirteen year old Jenna Rink goes through every day of her life yearning to be older, and after being humiliated by her so called “friends” at her own party, her best friend Matt Flamhoff sprinkles “pixie dust” over a present he’d made for her (a “Jenna Dreamhouse”) and tells her to make a wish. Hey Presto! We are transported to the present day. Jenna is now 30 and finding out, day by day and to her horror, just what a deeply unpleasant person she has become over the last 17 years. This, of course, she vows to change. The old “Be careful what you wish for” adage becomes apparent.

Now, I can’t deny that there are several highly entertaining and quite a few very amusing moments, but the film just gets so predictable half way through that it kind of loses its appeal. I’d even go so far as to say that I really liked the first 45 minutes! Maybe the arrival of latecomers distracted my train of thought a little and hampered my enjoyment somewhat. Oh hang on, that was the Ed…

If one thing DOES need to be praised here though, it is the casting of both the older AND younger versions of the main characters. Jennifer Garner was perfect for her role, and shows why her profile has been rising so rapidly of late, and Mark Ruffalo effortlessly pulls off the “likeable neglected guy” role, showing yet again the versatility of his acting skills.

That said, the biggest plaudits must go to the junior actors, Christa B Allen and Sean Marquette, for their portrayals of young Jenna and young Matt, the latter of whom was a find and a half, being totally impossible to dislike at any stage of the movie. There was something quite heartwarming about those two performances, and the fact that they actually LOOKED like their older, more experienced counterparts is a major credit to the the casting department.

Aside from that, it was an entertaining eighties soundtrack. It’s just a pity the whole thing was so damn cheesy.

5/10 (though you could probably raise that to a 7/10 if you’re a thirteen year old girl. But let’s face it – you’re not).



Tone E


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