13 Going on 30 (2004) Review

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Not Thrilling

13 Going on 30 (2004): 3 out of 10: First I would like to throw my full weight behind any effort to give Jennifer Garner a special Oscar for best performance in a bad movie. She is delightful and plays the character better than written.

Also, I would like to absolve any of her co-stars from any possible negative career ramifications because of 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 those of a genius the film 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 the most believable part of the film. More believable than a dollhouse building, fairy dust collecting, fat boy next door growing up to be a thin straight single guy living in Greenwich Village or having more than one drunk person remembering any of the dance moves from the Thriller video.

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