Quite frankly, I didn’t remember much about 13 Going on 30 when I first saw it (yes, I’m copping to watching it), but in revisiting it for the purposes of the review, I found that it was a cute film whose story is quite clearly lifted from the ‘80s Tom Hanks film Big (right down to the scene where the main character rides in a limo), but the performances by the cast is actually quite commendable.
Jenna Fink is growing up in the mid ‘80s and is disenchanted with her teenage l…fe. There’s a boy named Matt Flamhaff who likes her that she doesn’t like, and she wants to be part of the popular sect, but Lucy Wyman, the main popular girl in school, doesn’t like Jenna. So on her 13th birthday, Jenna decides that she’s sick and tired of being a kid, and for her birthday wish, she wants to be older. So to borrow from the old saying, “be careful what you wish for…”
Jenna wakes up the next day as a 30 year old, firmly in the body of Jennifer Garner (Alias). In the midst of trying to piece together what’s going on, she finds that she’s become friends with a grown up Lucy (Judy Greer, Arrested Development), and they both work at a Cosmopolitan-type magazine that is published by Gollum himself, Andy Serkis. In the midst of all the confusion, Jenna successfully finds Matt (Mark Ruffalo, Just Like Heaven), but Matt has moved on with his childhood crush and is doing other things. However, Jenna finds that the one person she pushed away is the one she wants to be with the most.
Directed by Gary Winick (Tadpole), the film is very much reminiscent of Big, but what makes this movie satisfactory (since it’s not really better) is that Garner, Ruffalo and Greer all do well with what they’ve got, and they try to go for it when they can. There are a couple of instances where all the ‘80s nostalgia wears a little bit, but it’s not all that bad. It’s a harmless little movie with a capable cast, and they do things with tongue somewhat planted in cheek.
A 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation accompanies the film. The only difference between watching it before and now is that I’m watching Jennifer Garner’s large forehead on a bigger, wider TV set now, and everything looks pretty good. It’s not reference quality, but it does the job.
Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks in English, French and Portuguese (?) accompany this new edition. The songs and dialogue all sound pretty good with very little to complain about.
A word on the packaging for this Special Edition by Sony. In the spirit of trying to cater to a specific demographic, not only is the keepcase for 13 Going on 30 a very hot pink, but the case has a smell to it. Not of bodily fluids or anything like that, but the case smells like, well, bubblegum. Or jelly beans. Something very sugary sweet. I felt myself getting cavities as I opened the case up to get to the disc. To paraphrase Scott Keith, 10 points to Sony for the concept, but minus several hundred for its execution.
Another cause for disappointment is that most of the extras that were on the initial DVD release back in 2004 are holdovers onto this disc, with the subtractions of a couple of commentaries, and the addition of a couple of featurettes that are geared to the Judy Bloom reader that you may know. Going through what’s on the disc, there’s an alternate beginning and ending that have been introduced on this disc, with different actors in some of the parts, and the beginning and endings seemed to involve kids with not a lot of charisma. The 20 minutes of deleted/extended scenes appear to be retreads from the previous edition, and some of them are pretty good, I would have liked to seen them make the final cut. There’s a quick look at the fashion of the ‘80s with a bunch of young girls and some older ones that share their thoughts on being retro, followed by the obligatory 20 minute EPK that goes along with it. “I was a Teenage Geek” is another holdover from the first Special Edition, where the cast shares their recollections on their days in intermediate and high school back in the day, and they all share their younger kid pictures as well, which is a little bit kitschy and cute. The blooper reel is another holdover along with two set top games and a couple of music videos.
As a standalone release, this isn’t too bad, but the only things that seem to differentiate this from the first edition that came out 18 months ago is that the commentaries are dropped and a smell of a product that promotes tooth decay permeates through this feature. If you’ve got a teenage girl in your family, you can probably pick up either version and not do too badly.
Special Features List
- Alternate Beginning and Ending
- ’80s Fashion Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Blooper Reel
- Making of Featurette
- Music Videos