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Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 92 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: It is 1987 and Jenna is a 13-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood. The problem is that adulthood is just not arriving fast enough. She makes a wish on her birthday: If only she could be all grown up, she'd have the life she's always wanted. Miraculously, her wish comes true. (Columbia Pictures) Collapse
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: M. E. Russell
    75
    A charming, funny piece of wish-fulfillment for young girls -- and, if you're much older than that, a disturbing critique of modern male sexuality.
  3. The possibilities of Jenna's confusion are exploited for full comic effect. Garner, who turns out to be a charming, abandoned comedian, makes Jenna's incredulousness and innocence very funny and occasionally even touching.
  4. 63
    It's looking for comedy and romance in the obvious places.
  5. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    60
    If there's a criticism to be made, it's that the script doesn't push itself far enough with the moments in which it excels.
  6. You won't find a load of laughs in 13 Going on 30, but there's plenty of whimsy, which is a close cousin of genuine humor.
  7. What could have been an engaging, maybe even enlightening story about the unfairly high price a woman pays for conducting herself like a man winds up as nothing more than a worthless, harmless and ultimately charmless piffle.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 4 out of 32
  1. Jul 16, 2014
    10
    13 going on 30 is a delightful movie with Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo. The two have great chemistry in
    the movie and the concept of the
    movie is very clever and diverse, A+. Expand
  2. 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! Expand
  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 is never too late to be a better person and choose quality over quantity. Expand
  4. 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.
    Expand
  5. 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. Expand
  6. 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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