This is the question asked by 13 Going on 30, which left me with fatigue going on boredom thanks to mediocrity going on atrocity during 97 minutes going on forever.
If it’s a romantic comedy as sharp as Jennifer Garner’s cheekbones you seek, this is definitely the weekend to read a book. As instant adulthood fantasies go, Jennifer is no Tom Hanks, although she just might be Judge Reinhold. If Tom was Big, Jen is Sprig.
Besides me, there were absolutely no men in this audience which explains not only why I now have a menstrual cycle, but also why it’s coordinated with 40 strangers. I’m trying to figure this crowd out. Are they remembering 13?
Remembering 30? Or remembering whatever number they’re capable of counting to in-between?
I can’t get enough of movies where the actors dance and sing Karaoke to VH1-era chestnuts, can you? And writing this stuff is so much easier than penning a nasty old script with nasty old dialogue and plotting, isn’t it?
Jennifer is an awkward teen on the outs with the cool crowd. Don’t you feel sorry for the trials and tribulations of any girl who grows up to look like Jennifer Garner instead of Rhea Perlman? I know I do.
Young Jennifer’s geeky friend (who grows into Mark Ruffalo) gives her a package of “wishing dust” which, as the name implies, allows all her wishes to come true, especially the ones for a really good complexion and unnaturally white teeth.
And here’s where things get sticky.
She wakes up 17 years older and with 17 years of experiences she can’t remember! Unless you’re Robert Downey Jr. this feat can be accomplished only by going on the road with the Grateful Dead.
I know you’re supposed to suspend reality to appreciate a “fairy tale,” but Jennifer’s not living in a shoe, she’s in a Manhattan one-bedroom. And she’s not eating curds and whey – unless they’re stuck on the end of a toothpick at a swanky soiree. 13 Going on 30 isn’t Cinderella, it’s Hansel and Regrettable. Jennifer doesn’t carry this movie so much as drag it along behind her like a cumbersome ball on a chain.
So she “wakes up” in 2004: Lo and behold she’s the big-time editor of a big-time fashion magazine, and her boss is none other than Gollum himself: “Tricksie subscriberses! Increased circulation and pass-along, we wants it>!”
One thing leads to another and we’re in a dumb-ass movie about office politics.
We learn that Jennifer was a mean, selfish, conniving bitch during her “missing years” and only now that she is infused with the untainted spirit of a pre-teen can she be who she really was before media indecency, stem cell research, Gay
marriage, and assorted civil liberties ruined her life.
Jennifer engineers a redesign of her magazine, ditching the inane staples of the fashion victim genre in favor of “real women who are smart and pretty and happy to be who they are.” In other words, a theme we can all agree on and one we’ll all skip on the newsstand with 100 percent certainty.
She seeks out her childhood pal, Mark Ruffalo, who hears her tale of being only 13 and immediately forgets all about it so as to focus more intently on reaching first base.
Naturally, the 13-year-old girl in Jennifer’s body hits on the 30-year-old guy – which is morally wrong everywhere but at the movies and in certain regions of West Virginia. “Hey, you’ve got arm hair” she says as he kisses her passionately. Should I be arrested for watching this or simply ashamed?
13 Going on 30 is brought to you by a team with a track record – even if they’ve been spending their record at the track. Last time they wrote What Women Want, now comes What Nobody Wants.
Yes, the geekiest kid in class can grow up to win the kindest, prettiest girl in school. In real life, of course, it doesn’t work that way.
Then again, it did for me.
Photos Copyright ©2004 Revolution Studios
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