User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 137 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 137
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  1. Oct 7, 2010
    10
    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!
  2. Aug 28, 2014
    7
    Magic that can, unfortunately, only happen at the movies. Fortunate for 13 Going on 30, it hits all of the high notes. Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, in an early role, are perfect together.
  3. Mar 27, 2012
    10
    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 isThis 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. Expand
  4. IdelkaR.
    Sep 10, 2006
    10
    Jen Garner is a great actress. Her performance in movie was really enchanting.
  5. matta.
    Sep 2, 2005
    2
    I like Tom Hanks better. Stick to Alias girlfriend.
  6. Sep 12, 2014
    6
    Strong 3 stars.

    Jenna is an average 13-year-old girl; she wants to be part of the cool group but keeps failing - especially thanks to her best friend Matt, who is not very high on the cool spectrum. Take some magic powder, a wish after a disastrous party, and Jenna suddenly finds herself in the age of 30, having fulfilled her every dream of becoming popular and successful. Problem
    Strong 3 stars.

    Jenna is an average 13-year-old girl; she wants to be part of the cool group but keeps failing - especially thanks to her best friend Matt, who is not very high on the cool spectrum.

    Take some magic powder, a wish after a disastrous party, and Jenna suddenly finds herself in the age of 30, having fulfilled her every dream of becoming popular and successful. Problem is, she's still the 13-year-old girl and it would seem her adult version doesn't quite meet her expectations; she's carved her life with means young Jenna can't agree on.

    While dealing with the life of her adult self, Jenna manages to track down the only person that was truly her friend: Matt. (Mark Ruffalo was so very adorable in his role as Matt, and the sole reason why I watched this movie.) Together they re-discover their friendship and Jenna comes to see that not all things in her new life are as shiny as she thinks. A lesson learned the hard way.

    The movie was funny with a steady stream of comedic elements. Jennifer Garner as adult Jenna was entertaining but sometimes a bit annoying. Andy Serkis as her boss was amazing. And of course Ruffalo as Matt blew me away as awkward, grown-up man who has to face the fact that he never really got what he wanted from life, but he can't reach back for it either.

    I was disappointed with the ending of the movie but it was nothing out of the ordinary. (I would have preferred the teary, sad version but romantic comedies wouldn't be romantic with sad endings, right?)

    With some laughs, embarrassing moments and heart-wrenching drama jammed in between there somewhere, this is a decent movie.
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  7. Feb 18, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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.
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  8. Jun 9, 2014
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. 13 Going on 30: 3 out of 10: First of all I would like to throw my full weight behind any effort to give Jennifer Garner a special Oscar for best performance in a pretty bad movie. She is delightful and plays the character better than written.

    In addition I would like to absolve any of her co-stars from any possible negative career ramifications due to their appearances in this film. They also did a fine job. And last I would like security to please apprehend the writers and director whom I see sneaking out the fire escape.

    Okay the director gets community service for making some pretty obvious soundtrack mistakes for 1987 (he highlights as the supposed geeky underground song Burning Down the House which was featured in as a jock anthem in Revenge of the Nerds three years earlier and as MTV fodder he highlights Thriller from 1983 which was already in the Halloween ghetto mix by 1987.) The writers get life in prison without parole. First question. Have they ever worked in any office anywhere, let alone a supposed fashion magazine? They get so much wrong I don't know where to begin. Second though Garner's performance is great her character is a mess. She finds older guys icky in one scene and is attracted to them in the next and then back to icky. She handles her cutthroat business environment with more maturity than most thirty year olds let alone thirteen year olds.

    Instead of going into a Being There Chauncey kind of vibe where Garner's character's inane utterances are taken as genius the film actually makes her more proactive than either her shy thirteen year old self would be or her cutthroat thirty year old self was. No working woman cliché is ignored and the less said about the sappy and ridiculous ending the better.

    The whole body swap time travel deal was actually the most believable part of the film. Certainly more believable than a doll house building, fairy dust collecting, fat boy next door growing up to be a thin straight single guy living in Greenwich Village or more than one drunk person remembering any of the dance moves from the Thriller video.
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  9. JasonZ.
    Aug 10, 2004
    6
    This is not a bad movie. Jennifer Garner is electric as a 30 something playing a 13 year old. Sure, she had Hanks' performance to review in preparation for this film, but she proves that she can, in fact, act a little bit. This is not a genre that I enjoy (a fantasy romance), but I found myself willingly along for the ride. This is a great rental for a peaceful friday night at home.
  10. JacquelineH.
    Nov 7, 2004
    10
    I love this movie, it shows you the true values of growing up, not to take things for granted and to just live life and have fun while your younge, so you can grow up into a wonderful person like jenna did after she realized who she really became.
  11. HenryS.
    May 3, 2004
    6
    The action sequence was amazing... go LAKERS.
  12. AndyW.
    Feb 21, 2005
    2
    Could be the dictionary definition of "going through the motions". Includes all the ingredients that made Big such a great film, but lacks any magic or chemistry to hold them all together. And the ending is excruciating.
  13. IlzeS.
    Dec 26, 2004
    10
    Excellent movie, but not as good as other movies like this. Jennifer Garner is best star of this movie and this movie is really funny.
  14. CameronS.
    Apr 22, 2004
    8
    This movie was great. It was funny, and charming. Jennifer Garner is great in this movie and Andy Serkis steals the show in his scenes. The movie is like Big in its own way but with a twist. I can't really tell you what I mean but you just are going to have to see the movie. This movie is great for family, I didn't see many sex references at all except for one scene that is kind This movie was great. It was funny, and charming. Jennifer Garner is great in this movie and Andy Serkis steals the show in his scenes. The movie is like Big in its own way but with a twist. I can't really tell you what I mean but you just are going to have to see the movie. This movie is great for family, I didn't see many sex references at all except for one scene that is kind of objectionable but it's brief. This is a great date movie. Expand
  15. TonyB.
    Apr 24, 2004
    9
    This movie was fun and Jennifer was great. Can't think of any way it could have been done better. Got a few really good laughs (and not at anyone's expense), had its touching moments, and everything went exactly as it would have if I had written it. My only complaint is that I would have liked it to go a little longer - perhaps play out a few scenes a little more.
  16. KenG.
    May 3, 2004
    6
    A rather bland, juvenile re-telling of the superior Tom Hanks flick Big, this movie is saved by Jennifer Garner's sparkling and honest performance.
  17. DanielleB
    Jul 28, 2004
    7
    "Big" its not, but Garner was at her best in this film.
  18. JulieW.
    Aug 12, 2004
    10
    Great acting! i love it!
  19. JudyT.
    Aug 3, 2004
    6
    Silly, but cute.
  20. Zybard
    Aug 6, 2004
    5
    What mom lets her 13 year old daughter have a sleep over with the promiscuous 30 year old neighbor?
  21. clares.
    Mar 8, 2005
    7
    I liked it, but I wish the guy had been wearing boxers and not y-fronts when doing the striptease. That was gross-guys, burn them.
  22. MeganO.
    Apr 26, 2004
    9
    How refreshing to see a "thirteen year old" (Garner's character) be modest and sweet v. the modern portrayal of teens as sex-crazed and defiant!! Great movie!
  23. BobH.
    Apr 27, 2004
    5
    Jennifer Garner was simply outstanding portraying a thirteen year old girl. On the hand, her main squeeze Mark Ruffalo was as bland and as lame as the script she had to work with. There was no chemistry or sparks from the pairing although the movie cried out to have it happen. A modern version of the delightful comedy BIG with Tom Hanks it was not. It didn't even come close to Jamie Jennifer Garner was simply outstanding portraying a thirteen year old girl. On the hand, her main squeeze Mark Ruffalo was as bland and as lame as the script she had to work with. There was no chemistry or sparks from the pairing although the movie cried out to have it happen. A modern version of the delightful comedy BIG with Tom Hanks it was not. It didn't even come close to Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday. The best way to describe this film is eating DRY TOAST. Expand
  24. ChadS.
    Jul 19, 2004
    9
    "13 Going on 30" tells a story with popular song. Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" represents Sean's utter uncoolness to the popular kids at Jenna's thirteenth birthday party. As adults, the use of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston becomes significant because David Byrne has been known to cover the song at his concerts. The song accompanies the scene "13 Going on 30" tells a story with popular song. Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" represents Sean's utter uncoolness to the popular kids at Jenna's thirteenth birthday party. As adults, the use of "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston becomes significant because David Byrne has been known to cover the song at his concerts. The song accompanies the scene in which Jenna gets dressed for the company party, but it works as foreshadowing to Matt's admission at his wedding that he had always loved her. If you're aware of this musical connection, "13 Going on 30" becomes a richer experience, because Whitney Houston and the Talking Heads are polar opposites, like Matt and Jenna were in high school. The tribute to Michael Jackson is fun, but it's Jennifer Garner's recitation of "Love is a Battlefield" by the great spandexed bard Pat Benatar, and taking "life of the slumber party" honors as she incites the girls to sing and dance to that hideous video, which floored me. Christa B. Allen does a fine job of setting the stage for Jennifer Garner, who is absolutely winning as a reformed bitch, the bitch we never see, but intimate in the quivering eyes and lips of her secretary (Marcia DeBonis). Through Arlene, Jenna's backstory comes alive. "13 Going on 30" has lapses in logic, but so did "Donnie Darko". My biggest quibble: I'd like to know what the second version of the adult Jenna does for a living. Expand
  25. ElenaJ.
    Aug 7, 2004
    5
    Seems to be a popular rent for grown men at the store where i work.
  26. Gerry
    Nov 26, 2005
    8
    Cool movie, Garner is more than just a (very) pretty face, she has unreal charisma and charm. The movie never drags, and who can't relate to the adolescent angst that she and her would-be boyfriend experience, as well as the feelings we all have as we get older that cause us to wonder if we had just done "this, or that" a bit different when we were younger, things might have turned Cool movie, Garner is more than just a (very) pretty face, she has unreal charisma and charm. The movie never drags, and who can't relate to the adolescent angst that she and her would-be boyfriend experience, as well as the feelings we all have as we get older that cause us to wonder if we had just done "this, or that" a bit different when we were younger, things might have turned out better? In a sense, the movie is really like a combination of "Best Friend's Weddiing", and the theme about the Ghost of Christamas Future from Dickens. Unlike Julia, she gets a second chance, which is cool, because someone as awesome as Garner will ALWAYS get a second chance...I mean, she deserves it, she knows it, and we know it! Totally charming movie, and I think very well cast as well, it is a disservice to simply call it a "chick flick" (OK, it is, but there's more to it than that) or something similarly demeaning. This movie has real class, and Jennifer Garner, in my book, is the coolest of the new young actresses. Expand
  27. MikeB
    Jan 8, 2005
    10
    Possibly the best made, most honest and cute romantic comedy ever. Jennifer Garner puts Julia Roberts to shame in an unforgetable role - definately buy this one.
  28. AusinA.
    May 8, 2005
    9
    Both cute and spunky.
  29. BarryR.
    May 21, 2004
    8
    "13 Going on 30" starring Jennifer Garner ("Alien") and Mark Ruffalo. Done with less taste, bad writing and poor direction, could have been a real bomb. However, to the contrary, the outstanding acting performance of Ms. Garner, the excellent writing, editing and directing, make this movie not only heart-warming, full of good fun and real values, but an absolute delight to view. The other "13 Going on 30" starring Jennifer Garner ("Alien") and Mark Ruffalo. Done with less taste, bad writing and poor direction, could have been a real bomb. However, to the contrary, the outstanding acting performance of Ms. Garner, the excellent writing, editing and directing, make this movie not only heart-warming, full of good fun and real values, but an absolute delight to view. The other star of the movie is the City of New York which, to those of you who have watched Sex in the City, will know how wonderful and appealing the city can appear when shown in its most favorable light (in addition to the neon). The movie will not win any major awards except, of course, for those who are interested in seeing a fun, light and really charming film that leaves you feeling better for having seen it. It earns and deserves an 8 for the kids in all of us. Expand
  30. MarkB.
    May 24, 2004
    7
    Although this isn't in the same universe as Tom Hanks' classic Big in the adult/adolescent switcheroo sweepstakes, and as an examination of teen cruelty is several football fields removed from Mean Girls, this works extremely well a lot of the time for five big reasons: Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Garner...and Mark Ruffalo. The latter skillfully Although this isn't in the same universe as Tom Hanks' classic Big in the adult/adolescent switcheroo sweepstakes, and as an examination of teen cruelty is several football fields removed from Mean Girls, this works extremely well a lot of the time for five big reasons: Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Garner...and Mark Ruffalo. The latter skillfully incorporates not-quite vanished childhood insecurities and hurts in his portrait of a successful photographer who has otherwise overcome them; his lovely co-star is a real revelation, portraying a 13-year-old child-woman (literally) with complete guilelessness and irresistible lovability. (The box office returns indicate that Garner has been very successful at drawing both devotees and nonwatchers of her hit spy-action TV series Alias; if you think it's easy for a TV star to fill theaters with folks who might otherwise assume they can get all they want of said performer for free, ask Ray Romano how easy a task this REALLY is.) Her jubliant nightclub dance number to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" equals five minutes of pure joy that not only edges out Uma and Darrah's trailer mano-a-mano in Kill Bill Vol 2 as 2004's best movie scene (so far), but even more impressively, it completely banishes all reservations about the song and its artist that the news has forced on us. The script has some real flaws; it's mindlessly stereotypical about women in business, and takes some interesting dark turns near the end that it's all too eager (and sloppy) about eradicating, but when Garner is on screen, she really does make you believe that the answer to all the world's problems is to put a tween at the head of every business, corporation, and government office! Expand
Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Does a good job of reviving stale material. Thanks to a snappy script by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa and an effervescent performance by Jennifer Garner, this romantic comedy has a buoyant personality.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    70
    A star vehicle composed of second-hand parts that nevertheless gets great mileage (and big laughs) from its recycled plot.
  3. 50
    Cheers and many happy returns to Garner as she makes her first starring film role. She's the real deal. But jeers to every other aspect of 13 Going On 30.