For some, 13 feels like it was just yesterday. For Jenna, it was.
Running Time: 98 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a
Country: United States
If you go to see 13 Going on 30 hoping for a kiddy-adult transformation flick to match Big, chances are youll be disappointed. Sixteen years on from its release, Big is still the best of the body-swap-type movies by quite some distance, and in this reviewers opinion remains Tom Hanks finest piece of live action work. But theres little denying that this latest spin on the idea manages to produce a little bit of warmth and charm all of its own.nnIts not quite a remake of Big, for two obvious reasons. For one thing, lead character Jenna as you might be able to guess from the name is a girlie (played at first by Christa B. Allen and then, for the most part, by Jennifer Alias iGarner). Secondly, theres a time-skipping aspect to this one. Jenna doesnt just wake up one day aged 30 she literally leaps 17 years into the future, with the effect that everyone she knows is suddenly all grown-up as well.
It also has to be said that the guys making these sorts of films seem to be putting less and less thought into how the age change actually comes about. In Big, we had the creepy Zoltar machine. In Vice-Versa an ancient mystical skull was used. Even Freaky Fiday managed to come up with a mad old Chinese bird who was going about placing hexes on people. What do we have here? Wishing dust, apparently bought from a regular common-or-garden store. Hell, they could at least have gone to the effort of calling it Oriental wishing dust.
Anyway, as you can probably guess, 13-year-old Jenna wishes she was 30-year-old Jenna, and hey presto she is. Of course, she soon discovers adult life has its own problems, such as shes turned into a complete battle-axe who nobody likes. That includes childhood chum Matt (first Sean Marquette, and then Mark Ruffalo), who gave up on fancying her years ago and has since gotten engaged to a TV weather-gal (Lynn Collins). Cue blossoming love story
In terms of actual comedy, theres a bit of a gulf here. What few chuckle-out-loud moments there are youll already have seen in the trailer, and the rest of the dialogue is pretty weak stuff. What saves the film is Garner. Despite a lack of previous comedy experience, her infectious enthusiasm often carries the project, and theres a believable chemistry between her and leading man Ruffalo. The result is a movie with a dearth of laughs, but bags of spirit.
It's Got: Plenty of opportunities for 80s nostalgia, be it gazing longingly into Rick Springfields Jessies Girl video or getting in line for some Thriller dancing.
It Needs: To have put a little more thought into the actual moments of transformation and perhaps give us a less hurried ending.
Likeable but uninspiring, itll be most memorable for exposing Jennifer Garners potential as a rom-com lead so expect to be sick of the sight of her within five years!