Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday Movies: 13 Going On 30

Five Stars! Click image to watch!

Starring:
Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis

Directed by: Gary Winick
Released: 2004
Length: 1h 37m

My oldest daughter turned thirteen in January, and it was a major milestone for our family - major for her because as she turned thirteen, she left her childhood behind and took one more step closer to being the woman she's someday going to be. And major for me because ... my God, I've got a kid who's thirteen!

Seriously though, it was major for me because I've watched nearly every moment of her life, sometimes coaching gently and sometimes ... well, coaching somewhat less gently. But every moment of her life, I have loved her, and wanted the world for her. I want to watch her strive and achieve, I want to see her continue to learn eagerly. I want to see her outgrow the teenaged angst that she won't be able to escape; I want to see her experience joy and happiness - and yes, the suffering confusion of growth that will change her into whoever she'll someday be.

Anyway, in the comments of Joey's birthday post, Debra Schroeder suggested that Joey and I watch 13 Going On 30 together, and this past weekend, we did! Here are our thoughts (but mostly just mine because even though she watched attentively and laughed several times, all she actually took time to say was, "Yeah, I liked it," because obviously, she's way too cool for movies with her lame mom):

This movie is such a flashback, because like Jenna (the movie's heroine), I was totally the nerdy kid in middle school - although I tended to embrace my nerdiness more like Matt, who is the quintessential nice-guy, even in middle school. I had my own little crowd of weirdos, and I was happy with that - in fact, I generally despised the fakeness of the "cool" kids I went to school with.

And to top it all off, Jenna is utterly clueless to Matt's obvious feelings for her - she's busy trying oh so desperately to find her place in the popular crowd. She wants to be known and liked by the cool girls, she wants the power that comes with being one of the "six chicks" clique that runs the school, and she wants the attention of dreamy jock, Chris.

Unfortunately for Jenna, her eagerness to be accepted is pretty obvious, and the clique takes total advantage, humiliating her on her birthday. Jenna's birthday ends in tears, and she wishes that she could be 30 - the magical age of the fun, flirty women featured in her favorite magazine, Poise.

Fast-forward a bit. True to type (think Freaky Friday, but less of a Mommy/Daughter flick and more of a Rom/Com), Jenna wakes up the next morning to discover that she's no longer a brand new teen; instead, she's a thirty year old woman! Hijinks ensue, during which she gets flashed by her cute and playful (but not too bright) boyfriend, and creeped out by her cell phone. She ends up fleeing her apartment in a negligee, only to conveniently find herself face-to-face with her best friend, who shuffles her off to work with a pep talk and a strong side-eye.

The last thing Jenna remembers is the day of her thirteenth birthday, and the last face she remembers seeing is Matt's. He was the boy next door, her best friend, so naturally he's who she wants to turn to now that she's completely lost in a life she can't remember, living in an apartment that doesn't feel like home, with every second a new realization that she's become someone she isn't at all proud to be.

Too bad Matt isn't who he used to be, either - and Jenna's faced with the idea that she's partly to blame.

A disconsolate trip back to her childhood home sets her straight though, and Jenna realizes she's got to find a way to fix things - before she loses the one thing she never knew she wanted. She's got to find a way to make everything right, and in the true fashion of an exuberant youth, she sets out to create and implement a plan that will help her, if not to turn back the clock, at least to get things back on track in the now.

This movie was a delight, in turns laugh-out-loud funny and shed-a-tear sweet - and while the surface of the movie wasn't anything truly special, the underlying message made this the perfect movie to share with my teen. It was a great way to spend an afternoon - cuddled up in bed with a kid that's crossing the line between woman and child, enjoying the weight of her presence beside me while she's still with me to enjoy, soaking up what I hope was a lesson for her in appreciating those who love you above and beyond the temporary glamour of what's "cool."

Hidden Delights From This Movie - seriously, there were so many! These are just a few:
1. Joey instantly recognized the crowd of it-girls in the beginning of the movie, and not because she's one of them. My kid is well-known for befriending the lost and the broken - a major source of pride for me as her mother.
2. "Arriverderci. Au revoir."
3. The wishing dust? The house? The way Matt put himself in the place of protector?? Awwww ...
4. Matt's face when he took Jenna's hands in the closet, before he realized who she thought he was.
5. When Jenna caught her own face in the mirror and fell over the wall.
6. "You! You ... put on your pants and ... stop calling me Sweet Bottom."
7. Jenna's response to Eminem's phone call.
8. "I like your dress."   "That's because I have these incredible boobs to fill it out!"
9. Chris at 30 - oh my gosh.
10. The scene in Matt's bedroom - their talk, behind the closet door, Jenna's courage, Matt's face.

While this movie has received extremely mixed reviews over the years, Joey and I both felt that 13 Going On 30 was 97 minutes well spent. And for those who might not be enjoying this with a kid, let me add that the romantic aspect of the story wasn't at all underplayed; while Jennifer Garner was spectacular in her role, successfully bringing the overreaction and naivete of youth to 30 year old Jenna, it was Mark Ruffalo's standout performance as Matt that made this such a truly endearing movie. His ability to lend emotional power to his character really showed up in this role, and it took what would have been just another sweet movie to a whole new level.

Or maybe I'm a sucker for the puppy-dog eyes, I don't know.

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Questions for the Comments Section:
  • Have you seen this movie?
  • If you have, what were some of your hidden delights?
  • If you haven't seen it, do you plan to?

68 comments:

  1. I haven't seen this movie! I have seen trailers etc but I fancy watching it now I have to say

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    1. It was definitely a cute movie - well worth the afternoon spent watching it.

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  2. I love this movie! OMG, I haven't seen it in years, so since we are having a snow day today, I think it's time to rewatch!

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  3. I LOVE this movie however have not seen it in eons - I want to watch it again, that's for sure! When I have a chick night :)

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  4. I haven't seen this movie. I am a little more into non-fiction. But, I appreciate the review and connections you made to your own life.

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    1. Thanks. That's my favorite thing about movies - or any stories, really - the way you can connect them to your own personal experience.

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  5. 13 always seemed like a turning point for my kids. Alyssa just turned 13 and I'm going to watch this movie with her.

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    1. I recommend it. It was a really good movie, and Joey and I talk a bit throughout it about the various themes running through the storyline.

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  6. I love this movie. I loved that the popular mean boy was a cab driver. That made me laugh. The dream house gift is my favorite.

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    1. I laughed too - and man, he lost ALL the cuteness! I definitely loved the house too - that was one of my most favorite parts of the whole movie, both times it came up.

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  7. I love this movie and have watched it so many times. I think this was a great pick to have watched with your daughter, it really does have some very important lessons.

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    1. I try to pull things like that when I watch movies with my kids. We're always looking for a lesson.

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  8. Oh my gosh I remember this movie! Such a good one. Its so funny and cute!

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    1. Definitely both funny and cute. We seriously laughed out loud multiple times, but it had so many sweet moments too!

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  9. I remember when I was 13 it was such a memorable year. The movie 13 going on 30 is surely a classic!

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    1. It was definitely a cute one. It was nice getting to share it with my daughter.

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  10. It has been so long since I have seen this movie. I loved it so much when it came out though!

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  11. I've seen this movie! I loved it, it was so quirky and it also put in perspective what I found important.

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    1. I think so too. The running theme of appreciating the people around you and the fleeting nature of what's "cool" were really great to talk over with my daughter as we watched.

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  12. I enjoyed watching this movie, it makes you realize how much your decisions impact your future. It's a nice thing to watch with your teen daughter as well.

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  13. I haven't seen this movie, it's not really the kind of genre I normally go for but I'll make you a deal: I'll watch this and if it's rubbish you owe me popcorn ;)
    Katja xxx
    www.katnapped.com

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  14. Enjoyed this movie! I love Jennifer Garner! :)

    Sincerely Miss J
    www.sincerelymissj.com

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    1. Me too - she seems like such a sweet person!

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  15. This was a great review! This is one of my favorite movies for sure! I love the type of movies when they show the dynamics of the domino effect. One choice that you make can change the outcome of your future. :)

    Virtuous Mama
    www.virtuousmama.org

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    1. Me too - those are always really fun for talking points as well as entertainment, and I'm one of those people who rarely watches a movie just for the watching. I'm always looking for something more, and this one delivered, which was nice.

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  16. It's so cute that you were able to spend an afternoon with your thirteen year old. Our kids grow up way too quickly and we have to spend time with them. It's been a while since I have watched 13 going on 30, but I remember it being fairly cute. Then again I would have been more interested in seeing Jennifer Garner instead of Mark Ruffalo. But if I was going to choose another Rom Com with him, I would have gone with Just Like Heaven. That was also cute.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation - maybe I'll look for Just Like Heaven next!

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  17. Have not seen this movie but it looks like something I might take my grand daughter to who is 14. They grow up so fast. Great post.

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    1. They definitely do grow up fast! Thank you.

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  18. I never saw this movie. I'm going to suggest it to my daughter.

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  19. I haven't seen this movie in years but I remember watching it and it's a funny movie 🎥 omg I can't imagine life when my daughter turns 13! 11 years to go I have to enjoy her as much as possible

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    1. Definitely make a point to enjoy every moment - they're fleeting!

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  20. I have seen this movie couple of years back and i loved it. This post made me want to watch it again. I am gonna watch it this weekend

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  21. I saw this movie but i didnt like at all, maybe because I dont like how she performs, but from your point of view, I'll watch it all over again, maybe I missed so many details you described.

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    1. Aw, I loved her in this movie. I thought Jennifer Garner did a great job portraying a teenager in an adult's body, right down to exaggerated facial expressions and mannerisms. She was fun - for us, at least.

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  22. Great post and very lovely review! I haven't watched this movie before and not planning to watch on this one.

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    1. Thanks - it's definitely a good one to watch!

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  23. It's a fun film! I loved Jennifer Garner's acting as well as her leading man, Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of their characters. This is definitely a must see, it's a great feel-good movie. --Marceline Dementori

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    1. Yeah, and they were great together too - despite some of the more outrageous plot points, their chemistry was totally believable for me.

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  24. I remember seeing this movie when I think I was around 8-9.. like it very much. Congratulations on your daughter's milestone!

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  25. I also remember that movie and the Freaky Friday which I think is more my time frame. You will be ok, trust me. This year I also have my last child turning 21. Officially I won't have any kids, but grown kids. lol.

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    1. "I will be okay." That's becoming a mantra for me, along with, "This too shall pass."

      I can't decide if I'm looking forward to when my kids are grown, or dreading it. Ha!

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  26. I love this movie, I remember watching it with my daughter. We really enjoyed it!

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    1. It was just such a cute story! I was glad my daughter enjoyed it and that we got to spend that time together.

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  27. Aww this is a classic !! I've seen this movie several times and enjoy every bit of it!!

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  28. this is such a sweet movie, the popular girls definitely reminded me of the bully girls in my school growing up! I love the Thriller dance part where everyone gets up having a great time!

    Ellie

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    1. Me too - it was so fun to watch! I think at some point we'll watch Mean Girls, too - my daughter has never seen that one either, and I like the lesson in it.

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  29. I love this movie!! I saw it first as a young teen and once in my adult years. Super funny and thought provoking.

    -UB Rey

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    1. I agree. Those tend to be my favorite kinds of movies too - the ones that get me thinking.

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  30. This is my daughter's absolute favorite movie. I showed it to her when she was eight and we've watched it like 50 times.

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    1. It's funny how many people have used this as a sort of mother-daughter bonding movie! It's been fun seeing that in the comments here.

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  31. I like watching this movie. I remember that when I first watched it, I can relate to Jenna's character. Will definitely watch this again!

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    1. That was what I liked about it too - I think every girl can relate to Jenna! We're always wishing for the next phase (or an earlier one, for some of us!), aren't we?

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  32. I haven't seen this movie in years. What inspired you to watch it after all of this time?

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    1. Someone suggested it in the comments of a previous post - mentioned and linked in the post above.

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  33. It's been a long time since I've seen this title! I actually haven't even seen it but i hear such great reviews from my friends! I will have to go check it out! <3

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  34. I really like this movie!! I shows the challenges of adult life in such a funny manner.

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