Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. The rare commercial comedy that leaves you entranced by what can happen only in the movies.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Nearly perfect in its own cotton-candy way.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 29
  2. Negative: 3 out of 29
  1. Feb 18, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. We all had at least one of those moments during our horridly awkward adolescent years where we wished we could just fast-forward to the part where things finally got good. In our fantasies we had survived puberty, landed our dream job and maybe, just maybe, had that someone special in our lives. It appears that so many of us have had these fantasies that film producers feed off of this notion by producing movies like 1988's "Big" or 2003's "Freaky Friday". Although it's based on a similar premise 13 Going On 30 depicts this fairly unoriginal concept in a refreshing and highly entertaining manner.
    Jenna Rink, played by the ever-charming Jennifer Garner, is fed-up with living the cumbersome life of a teenager. Her only wish for her thirteenth birthday is to be "thirty, flirty and thriving". What she fails to realize is that the wishing dust her childhood best friend Matty gave her for her thirteenth-birthday will grant that very wish. Young Jenna is catapulted seventeen years into her future landing in the striking, business executive body of her thirty-year old self. Now that Jenna has the world at her fingertips she realizes she got everything she ever desired popularity, style and boobs. But why on earth is adult Matty no longer speaking to her? It turns out being an adult isn't all it's cracked up to be.
    While Jenna struggles to navigate her way through adulthood to find a way to get back to her teen life director Gary Winick lends his expertise to the film's success. He has mastered the art of balancing the sincere scenes between Jenna and Matty with the witty light-hearted moments. One minute the pair will be reminiscing about their high school days when everything went sour and the next they're sharing Razzles on the swing set.
    Granted, there are most definitely some cheesy moments but it wouldn't be a feel-good romantic comedy without them. What makes up for those cheese-worthy moments is the seamless acting of Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo fills the Converse shoes of adult Matty effortlessly. He's undaunted by the task of dancing along to "Thriller" with his equally as comical co-star Garner as they attempt to liven up a disastrous office party for Jenna's magazine company, despite his flushed cheeks hinting otherwise. I don't think Matty could have resisted Jenna even if she didn't have such a delightful giggle with the occasional, somehow charming, snort. Garner's charm continues to liven up the film as she replays the heart-pounding details of her kissing endeavor to a group of thirteen year old girls who are eager for mature Jenna's wisdom.
    Unfortunately, being a thirteen year old in her thirty year old body Jenna doesn't exactly have a world of knowledge when it comes to boys; but she makes due with some noteworthy male experiences from her current trip to the future. However, she's slowly learning life lessons, bigger than how to tell if a guy actually likes you, that the rest of us can only hope to learn by the time we're actually thirty. This is where 13 Going on 30 fully earns a spot on my DVD shelf as a great movie for one of those nights where you have the urge to laugh and the need be entertained.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 27, 2012
    This was one of the first comedies that made me realize comedies were becoming something more than just laugh machines. I think a skewed sense of time is irrelevant when you are in the genre of fantasy, which this is. The morals that it presents but does not shove down your throat are impeccable and everyone would live happier lives if they listened to the message in this movie. It is never too late to be a better person and choose quality over quantity. Full Review »
  3. Oct 7, 2010
    I actually really thought this movie was cute! I've watched it a few times already..and I'll watch it again someday! I liked it! Jennifer Garner also played her role great! I love how she acted as a 13 year old in it, it's a good family movie. That will also give you a few laughs! Full Review »