13 Going on 30

Critics Consensus

The plot's nothing new, but Garner shows a lovable flair for romantic comedies.



Total Count: 167


Audience Score

User Ratings: 653,591
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Movie Info

Thirteen-year-old Jenna (Shana Dowdeswell) has had enough with the trials of adolescence. In addition to being saddled with a devoted-but-nerdy best friend, Matt (Sean Marquette), she falls victim to one of the dangers of playing Seven Minutes in Heaven with the coolest kids in school: being stranded without a willing make-out partner. Humiliated, Jenna buries herself in the aforementioned make-out closet, wishing she could skip the whole adolescence bit and move straight into adulthood, and miraculously wakes up just weeks away from her 30th birthday. Of course, a lot has changed since going to bed the night before, not the least of which being an impressive set of womanly curves. The new, older Jenna (Jennifer Garner) is a successful magazine editor with friends in high places and a lion's share of potential suitors -- including a hockey-playing boyfriend and a swarthy married man. The problem is that her mind hasn't matured with her body; Jenna not only finds living on her own more terrifying than cool, but is quick to dismiss any male over the age of 14 as "gross." Half excited, half mortified, Jenna seeks out Matt (Mark Ruffalo), whom she learns she had spurned as a teenager in an effort to join the popular crowd. Gary Winick directed the film, from a script by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa; Gina Matthews produced. Choreographer Michael Peters -- who died in 1994 -- received posthumous credit, as his choreography from the Michael Jackson Thriller video is used in one scene. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

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Jennifer Garner
as Jenna Rink
Mark Ruffalo
as Matt Flamhaff
Christa B. Allen
as Young Jenna
Sean Marquette
as Young Matt
Andy Serkis
as Richard
Samuel Ball
as Alex Carlson
Kathy Baker
as Beverly Rink
Phil Reeves
as Wayne Rink
Kiersten Warren
as Trish Sackett
Alexandra Kyle
as Young Tom-Tom
Alex Black
as Young Christopher Grandy
Joe Grifasi
as Mr. Flamhaff
Mary Pat Gleason
as Mrs. Flamhaff
Susan Egan
as Tracy Hansen
Merris Carden
as Veronica
Courtney Chase
as Stella Lohmann
John W. Grant
as Band Leader
Bill Kotsatos
as Photo Shoot Grip
Ashley Benson
as Six Chicks
Justin Burke
as 13-Year-Old Boy
Melody Krell
as Magazine Staffer
Brittany Curran
as Six Chicks
Brie Larson
as Six Chick
Megan Lusk
as Six Chick
Julia Roth
as Six Chicks
Jeffrey Shane Cohn
as Grandy's Friend
Luis Pedron
as Matt's Photo Assitant
George Hine
as Grandy's Friend
James Pomichter
as Guy Hit by Shrimp
Ian Barford
as Pete Hanson
Benita Krista Nall
as Waitress at Party
Brad Tiemann
as Magazine Staffer
Catherine Combs
as Catherine
Jim Gaffigan
as Chris Grandy
Corena Chase
as Poise Employee
Crystal Michelle
as Poise Secretary
Shambo Pfaff
as Band Member
Fabrice Calmettes
as Band Member
Eron Otcasek
as Band Member
Kevin D. White
as Yearbook Photographer
Kevin Stea
as Dancer
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News & Interviews for 13 Going on 30

Critic Reviews for 13 Going on 30

All Critics (167) | Top Critics (39)

Audience Reviews for 13 Going on 30

  • Jun 17, 2018
    I'm honestly trying to remember back to my 13th birthday and whether or not it was anything special. I do remember the fact that, sadly, my grandfather passed away five days prior to me turning 13. I suppose you could say that's the only thing I remember about that birthday that, at that point, it was my first birthday without, really, the only father figure I've ever had. Naturally, I've had 17 more birthdays since then, but I'm sure that, back then, given that my grandpa died a week prior, that it must not have been that happy. Regardless, I don't know what the point of that was, particularly after this horrible week that just passed. Anyway, what I'm trying to go for here is that children, perhaps younger than my age when I was 13, at one point or another, wish that they were older than they actually are. Whether that reason be because they don't have to follow curfews, no adults have to give them orders and, theoretically, doing everything you want (within legal limits) is enticing to a young child. I did that, you did that and everyone does that at one point or another. Of course, now that I'm the age I am, part of me wishes to go back to the simplicity of my younger days. Partially because it would me that it would reverse the events of this past week and, maybe, allow me to change those events (wish fulfillment, I know). But also because there's no better moments in your life than when you are a child, if you've had a good childhood that is. Unfortunately, not everyone gets one of those and some people grow up before their time. But I was fortunate to live in a good home with a love mother and aunt who, I believe, raised me the right way. That's neither here nor there, I suppose. This film's concept is one that's been used many times in Hollywood throughout the years. Perhaps its most successful example of this, where a kid gets transformed into the adult version of himself due to some strange event, is Big. I enjoyed Big. Tom Hanks is a national treasure and he makes anything he's in better just by being in it. That's not to say I thought Big was a masterpiece, however. I think Big's effectiveness had more to do with the fact that it was a product of its time. Had I seen Big in the 80s, I probably would have been blown away and claimed it as one of the best 80s movies. But, the fact of the matter is, that I've seen plenty of movies like that before and since. That's not to say Big wasn't funny or sweet, because it was. It's just that it hasn't aged as well as you'd think. This is the case for a lot of 80s comedies, at least in my opinion. Having said that, I don't know if it's fair to say that this is a Big ripoff. Because, again, this concept isn't unique to Big. Big maybe the most famous, but it's not unique to it. It's just that that's the easiest comparison to make. I don't know, but I simply watched this because I wanted light and easily digestible. I'm not gonna say that I had an interest in watching this, because I can't say that I did. If it ever came on TV and I had nothing better to do, I'd probably watch it. It's not like this is one of those movies I've always wanted to watch but just never got around to. This isn't that, but for what I wanted yesterday, this was the best option I could find. Story is simple. 13-year-old Jenna wants to be one of the popular girls at school, called the Six Chicks. Imagine Mean Girls, except younger. At her birthday party, the Six Chicks come over (even though they're using Jenna to help them with a school report) and have Jenna go in the closet, with a blindfold on, to play seven minutes in heaven with her crush. Her best friend, Matty, shows up instead. He shows up with this dollhouse he made for Jenna. Jenna makes a wish that she wishes she was 30, flirty and thriving (yes, really) some dust from a thing Matty brought her falls on her and when she wakes up, she's 30 and thriving. Simple set-up, you've seen it before. And, really, the movie is set-up so you can see Jenna's 'comical' reactions to everything around her. Cell phones aren't a thing when Jenna turns 13 (somewhere in the 80s). She sees a man's penis for the first time. She's independent and has her own place. She's a big time magazine editor at this struggling fashion magazine. Basically, Jenna has to navigate and adjust to the changes of her own life. At first glance, things seem perfect. Jenna has a great job and a great house. But, of course, she has become a completely different person. After her 13th birthday party, Jenna joined the Six Chicks and completely ditched Matty as her friend. She doesn't speak to her parents. And she's, knowingly (at least until 13-year-old Jenna takes over) in a relationship with a married man. She's turned, really, into kind of an asshole. So Jenna, really, just tries to do her best to put everything back in order, the way it should have been had Jenna not betrayed who she was as a person in order to get ahead. I've never been the biggest Jennifer Garner fan. I don't know why, but she's just never clicked with me. She's clearly talented, but she's not someone I think of when the debate of great actresses comes up. And, really, I don't think she'd come up in that debate for a great many people anyway. But, being the fair man that I am, I have to say that she's pretty great in this movie. I'm not gonna say I felt that this was good, because it's not, but Ms. Garner is definitely a big part of why I felt that this was a surprisingly decent movie. She just does a good job at capturing that innocence and naivete a girl her age would have, if they jumped ahead 17 years into their own life. She can, honestly, be charming. Which, again, is not something I would typically associate with Jennifer Garner. This is obviously not an Oscar-caliber performance, but for what the movie requires, Garner does a great job here. I also liked the nostalgic tone the film employed. It's an 80s movie with a mid-00s touch, if that's a thing that makes sense to you. Cool 80s soundtrack as well. But I feel that it's not a movie that's too heavily reliant on the 'good old days', particularly for those who grew up in the 80s. I think they do try to have Jenna show some growth from the person she was purported to be to the person she is when she's spent some time in her grown-up body. It's obviously very casual and easy character development, but at least it's something. The film is, definitely, very predictable. Matty was the love of her life and she let him slip away just to be one of the popular girls, etc, etc, etc. Jenna's materialistic possessions doesn't give her real happiness, blah, blah, blah, blah. You've seen it before, but it all plays decently in this setting. Also, Andy Serkis as editor-in-chief for Poise, the magazine Jenna works for, was a little surreal. I mean, Serkis is really underrated as an actor. Seriously, many people don't know how good this guy actually is. He's very good here, in a secondary position, but it's just not the type of role I'd normally associate with the guy. But, hey, it's Andy Serkis in a movie, so I'm not gonna complain about that in the slightest. The casting is solid, the scripting is decent enough even if I didn't find the movie that funny. I will say that the ending was really rushed through. Jenna's life has fallen apart, the dust from the dollhouse falls on her again, she's taken back to her 13th birthday, she kisses Matty, they leave the house and the next scene is them getting married in their 30s and moving into a modest house. This all happens in the span of, maybe, three minutes. I get that they needed to do that, but it's all a bit too rushed for my tastes. I don't really have much else to say about this movie. It's something you've seen before and will see again, but I didn't have any problem with this movie at all, though I wouldn't call it good. Can't say I'd give it a glowing recommendation, but if you want something that's really easy to watch, then you can't go wrong with this. Might not be as good as Big, but I'm sore most other people who enjoyed this will have done so for its own merits.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 23, 2016
    Just one of those delightful wish-fulfillment fantasies that you gotta watch when it comes on TBS. The "Big" concept + time travel is much more palatable, with Jenna already having a real adult life, rife with sordid history that she must "A Christmas Carol" her way out of. Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo are both so sweet and adorkable that you'll want to smash all the dollhouses.
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 09, 2015
    ...going on zero. I don't know whether it's more annoying watching a rom-com featuring an an immature main character with attention deficit, or suffering through a preposterous premise that no one even tries to explain. Garner was grating; Ruffalo was almost a prop. There's just not much to like unless you regularly fantasize about falling in love with someone unstable.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2015
    Inspired by Tom Hanks BIG? I'm guessing, almost a total female remake, still decent.
    Shawn M Super Reviewer

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