Monday, 20 April 2009

Movie Review - 13 Going On 30

13 Going On 30 revolves around a simple concept – a 13 year-old girl makes a wish to be “thirty, flirty, and thriving” as portrayed by her favourite magazine, and that wish comes true. Without remembering the intervening years, she suddenly wakes up to find herself as a thirty year-old… and finding out that she’s got everything she thought she ever wanted by becoming an extremely dislikeable person, wants to go back and start over knowing then what she knows now… Immediately before making this wish she is very horrible to someone she is very close to, potentially ruining their friendship forever.

Will she be able to put things right?
Will she end up with the man / boy / man she loves / will love / doesn’t know she loves?
Will it be a happy ending?

Well duh - this is a teen movie after all – what do you think?!?!

Predictable plot aside (the scriptwriters really do nothing imaginative with it at all, but then they are writing for 13 year-old girls…), there is a lot to like about 13 Going On 30. While I thorough Jennifer Garner (Alias)’s performance as Jenna Rink (the 30/13 year-old) was pretty nondescript. I’ve seen reviews that praise her acting in this and as many that deride it, but personally I found it okay – no more, no less. Any decent actress could have done at least as well, while a true quality actress (okay, I’m thinking of Renee Zellweger, but insert whatever name you feel like) could have really done something with the character and situations in the film. Judy Greer(Adaptation) put in a good performance as her horrible friend (Lucy) , while Mark Ruffalo (award-winner for his performance in You Can Count On Me) was pretty solid as Matt, Jenna’s love interest, though he had to battle against the fact that his character was poorly written. His character is both confused and confusing – it would have helped the film a lot if the relationship between the two (as adults) had been convincing. But to me the outstanding performance was that of Andy Serkis (most famous as Gollum from The Lord of the Rings trilogy), who worked wonders as Richard, the sleazy boss of the magazine Jenna finds herself working at. I’m going to really have to look out for some more of his non-CGI appearances… (I should also mention that all of the kids in this movie do well – better than some of the adults, in fact!)

There’s nothing really outstanding about anything in the movie, everything from direction to camerawork is pretty workmanlike, but that’s the sort of film it is. The humour and plot are aimed very squarely at the target market, i.e. early-teenage girls. However there’s still a fair bit for the rest of us to enjoy, with some good situation comedy here and there. The film has a good message behind it (particularly involving friendship, honesty, and community), and fortunately this is not thrown in your face but presented as an integral part of the plot.

I wasn’t disappointed because I hadn’t really expected much from the film. I certainly don’t regret seeing it – it was certainly entertaining, made me laugh a few times, and was quite sweet in places. It’s a good 3 stars, probably 3.5, but I think that to call it “above average” would be overly kind. It’s average. But it falls very definitely into the good side of average. It’s certainly miles better than the similarly themed but utterly atrocious Magic Bubble!

The rating suggests it’s not really for under 13s, which is probably about tright – more because it’s not aimed at them than because of the quantity of objectionable material (there’s really not that much of it).

Girls aged about 11-15 will love it. If you only see it because you have to go with your daughter etc, you’ll probably find it pleasantly diverting.

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