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Gary Winick
Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer
Writing Credits:
Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa

A girl makes a wish on her 13th birthday and wakes up the next day as a 30-year-old woman.

Box Office:
$37 million.
Opening Weekend
$21,054,283 on 3438 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Chinese Traditional
Chinese Simplified

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 1/20/2009

• Audio Commentary with Director Gary Winick
• Audio Commentary with Producers Donna Arkoff Roth, Susan Arnold and Gina Matthews
• Alternate Opening/Ending
• Deleted Scenes
• “Making of a Teen Dream” Featurette
• “Making of a Teen Dream: Another Take” Featurette
• “I Was a Teenage Geek” Featurette
• “Fashion Flashback” Featurette
• Music Videos
• Bloopers
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


13 Going On 30 [Blu-Ray] (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 12, 2019)

Part of a fantasy genre that takes place in the real world, 2004’s 13 Going On 30 introduces us to early teen Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen). On the brink of her 13th birthday, she wants nothing more than to fit in with her school’s cool kids, a band of six girls called - logically enough - The Six Chicks.

Jenna convinces their leader Tom-Tom (Alexandra Kyle) and the Sixes to come to her birthday party, but this doesn’t go well. In an emotional fit, Jenna wishes she could be an adult of 30.

Magically, this occurs, as Jenna soon wakes up as an older version of herself (Jennifer Garner). Stuck in this strange circumstance, Jenna attempts to cope with her new life.

(Note: my initial discussion includes a few potential spoilers; if you want to skip those, jump ahead to the first place you see bold text.)

Inevitably, 13 draws comparisons to 1988’s Big. The latter remains the best of this genre, and both films also go for a flavor different from the Freaky Fridays of the world.

Whereas that kind of flick involves body swapping, this form keeps the person in his or her own body. They just age a whole bunch immediately.

While Big provides the template for 13, that doesn’t mean the 2004 flick brings nothing more than a carbon copy with a female twist. Actually, it feels like a combination of Big and The Butterfly Effect, of all things. That’s because the choice Jenna makes at 13 affects the rest of her life, and like Effect’s Evan, she wakes up as an adult with no recognition of much of her past.

Frankly, I like the Big template better. Obviously, we need to swallow a lot of fantasy to accept any of these flicks, but Big does its magic in a logical way.

In that film, Josh simply grew up physically overnight. He didn’t wake up to a different place or time or life; he was just… big.

Instead, Jenna goes to what seems to be some sort of alternate universe, as we see the way her life turns out when she follows her path as prescribed by her 13th birthday humiliation. The movie doesn’t present this as a reversible action, though.

That causes an interesting variation from the usual flick of this genre. In Big, Freaky Friday, Vice Versa and virtually every other film like this, the characters spend much of their time trying to get back to where they once belonged.

Jenna really doesn’t do this. She attempts to cope with the change, but she clearly doesn’t understand what caused it and she doesn’t do much to seek a fix.

That’s an interesting twist, but since the audience clearly anticipates that this situation will revert, it makes any efforts in that regard tougher to swallow. It comes across like some funky multi-dimensional leap that lacks internal consistency.

At least the world of Big made sense, as when the flick ended, Josh simply shrunk to his original size and he went back to his life as a kid. All else remained in place, so everyone who knew Big Josh remembered him, and the events in which he participated maintained their effect.

That doesn’t happen in 13, and the easy use of magic moderately harms the movie. It’s an interesting twist on the genre, and it keeps the film from being a carbon copy of Big, but it doesn’t work out cleanly.

Garner almost single-handedly makes 13 work. Not that the others don’t contribute to its success, but without a winning lead, the film would definitely collapse.

Jenna remains on-screen the vast majority of the time, as we see exceedingly few scenes without her present. Had she flopped, the movie would have gone downhill with her.

Early on I worried that Garner might play the role too broadly to make it fly. She brings a rather cartoony flavor to her early scenes as Jenna, and I think she goes a little too far on occasion, as she strains so much to play the kid that it feels unnatural.

Happily, Garner quickly eases into the role. She never achieves the heights reached by Tom Hanks in Big, as he provided a shockingly believable and deft performance that should have snared him the Oscar.

Nonetheless, Garner allows us to buy the girl in the adult body, especially as Jenna comes to grips with her situation. The character matures and handles things appropriately well but maintains the kiddie spirit. Garner allows us to believe the story and makes the movie fly.

The supporting cast also fares well, and probably the most pleasant surprise comes from Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo brings a nice sense of warmth and vulnerability to his part as Jenna’s former childhood pal.

During his early scenes, you feel his affection for Jenna but also detect how her cruelty toward him as a kid tempered those emotions. He comes across as likable and natural in this excellent performance.

The biggest weakness of Ruffalo’s casting comes from the fact he looks almost nothing like Sean Marquette, the kid who played the teen Matt. Yeah, he’s supposed to look different, as young Matt’s tubby and adult Matt’s fit, but I still saw no resemblance.

Contrast that with Garner/Allen and especially Judy Greer/Kyle. The latter pair seems particularly well-matched, so when I saw Greer on screen for the first time, I immediately reckoned that she was an adult Tom-tom.

I can’t say that director Gary Winick does much to make 13 succeed, though he brings a nicely understated tone to the flick. It usually avoids the campiness or broadness that would make it too silly.

Winick lets some segments go on too long, especially since the “Thriller” dance at the Poise party never seems to end. Otherwise, he shows admirable restraint in the milking of most areas.

I wouldn’t call 13 Going On 30 a totally satisfying movie. Its ending lacks the bittersweet tenderness of Big’s, and it tries to hard to please the crowd. Nonetheless, the film entertains consistently and provides enough gentle humor and romance to make it worth a look.

Nerdy complaint: I thought Jenna’s musical preferences made little sense for a girl who turned 13 in 1987. She adores Rick Springfield and also loves songs like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield”.

All of that music topped the charts in the area of 1982-1983, which means it’s odd for a 13-year-old in 1987 to choose that work as her preference. It’s not impossible, of course, but given Jenna’s desire to be popular, she would logically latch onto material big in 1987.

I get the feeling the story was originally meant to take place in 1983 but had to be moved to 1987 to accommodate Jenna’s 17 year jump in age. Otherwise, adult Jenna would have lived in 2000, which would have confused audiences.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

13 Going On 30 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Never less than watchable, the picture nonetheless came across as less positive than I expected.

Sharpness caused some concerns. While the movie usually appeared acceptably concise, more than a few shots looked slightly soft and ill-defined.

Some of that seemed to stem from edge enhancement, which never became overwhelming but which often looked heavier than usual, so noticeable haloes popped up at times. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and print flaws appeared largely absent, as only a few small specks appeared.

Given its fantasy concept and girlie tone, I expected a broad palette from 13, and that’s what I got. Mostly the colors worked well, and they often came across as nicely bright and dynamic.

However, they also could appear somewhat thick and oversaturated at times. Some of this may have resulted from production design, but I felt the colors lacked a consistently satisfying tone.

Blacks were nicely deep and firm, but shadows varied and could look too dense on occasion. This became an erratic and not consistently appealing image.

While the picture of 13 Going On 30 didn’t live up to expectations, the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack provided exactly what I expected from this sort of film. As usual for a romantic comedy, the soundfield maintained an emphasis within the forward spectrum.

There I heard good stereo separation to the music and nice delineation for the other elements. Most of the effects tended toward the ambient side of the equation, but a few scenes came to life in a more compelling manner. Actually, the “Thriller” dance number was the prime example of this, as most of the time, the track stayed light and breezy without much substance from the surrounds.

Audio quality appeared to be positive. Speech sounded crisp and natural, with no edginess or issues related to intelligibility.

Music and effects demonstrated fine clarity and they seemed distinctive, but I thought they showed some restricted dynamics. A few tunes offered deep low-end, but as a whole, bass response appeared to be somewhat lackluster.

The fidelity was acceptable, but the package could have boasted a stronger punch. Overall, the audio of 13 was acceptable and that was about it.

How did the Blu-ray compare with those of the original disc? The lossless TrueHD mix seemed slightly superior to the standard Dolby track on the DVD, but given the soundscape’s limitations, improvements remained minor.

As for the visuals, I suspect the Blu-ray came from the same transfer used for the DVD, so the only upgrade came from format capabilities. This made the Blu-ray somewhat sharper and more dynamic but it limited improvements and meant this was a movie that could use a new transfer.

As we head to extras, we open with two separate audio commentaries. The first features director Gary Winick, who offers a running, screen-specific chat.

Mostly informative and engaging, Winick gives us a decent appraisal of his experiences. He talks about restrictions of the genre as well as his reactions. He goes over some issues connected to the actors and the script, with an emphasis on rewrites and altered/deleted sequences.

Winick indulges in some happy talk, but he also often criticizes his own work and lets us know what he’d like to change. At times Winick simply narrates the story, but he usually seems honest and interesting in this pretty good commentary.

For the second commentary, we hear from producers Donna Arkoff Roth, Susan Arnold and Gina Matthews, all of whom sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. Less informative than the director’s discussion, this one looks at the film from a female point of view.

That makes it sporadically useful but not terribly strong. The trio mainly covers general production issues with some notes on the cast, locations, wardrobe, and script. Occasional fun remarks like the original title of Sparkle magazine - and why they changed it - appear as well.

They indulge in a lot of happy talk and praise but provide a smattering of elements we don’t hear from Winick as well as some reflections on their own childhood and Eighties experiences. They manage a nice sense of enthusiasm, so while the commentary lacks much hard information, at least it goes down easily.

Under “Featurettes”, we go to Making of a Teen Dream. It fills 18 minutes, 52 seconds with notes from Winick, costume designer Susie DeSanto, and actors Jennfer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel Ball, Judy Greer, Alexandra Kyle, Christa B. Allen, and Andy Serkis. Somewhere on a level between a purely promotional piece and a more in depth program, “Dream” remains fluffy but offers some good notes.

We hear a lot of happy talk about the film, which makes it drag at times. However, it also includes a fair number of entertaining anecdotes about specific sequences like the strip tease and the “Thriller” dance. We also get some good information about clothes choices. It lacks great substance but it’s fun.

In a similar vein, Making of a Teen Dream: Another Take lasts seven minutes, 37 seconds and brings notes from Roth, Matthews, Arnold, Garner, Winick, Ball, Ruffalo, Allen and Greer. They give us more notes about the film along the same lines as what we got in the longer “Dream”. It becomes another frothy but moderately informative reel.

I Was a Teenage Geek takes eight minutes, one second to let us know of the youthful experiences of the movie’s stars. We get notes from Garner, Greer, Ruffalo, and Ball about their teen years and also see photos of them from that period. It’s trippy and cool to watch.

Fashion Flashback: Into the Eighties takes six minutes, 50 seconds and features comments from models Bethany Belcher, Brittany Johnson, Virginia Lopez, Grace Lee, Valuable Vintage author Elizabeth Mason, makeup artist Chelsea Behrens, hair stylist Rosemarie Valverde, and stylists Meritt Elliott and Emily Current. They chat about Eighties fashions, how they made a comeback for kids circa 2004, and how to recreate these styles.

Wow – what a waste of time! This featurette was so fluffy and inane that I think it actively killed my brain cells. I lived through the Eighties – I don’t need to be reminded of those ugly styles and be told that they’re cool.

And by the way, why do so many hair stylists have such bad ‘dos? Valverde sports a seriously ugly cut, and Current’s bleached blonde bangs don’t do it for me either.

A set of Bloopers lasts three minutes, 16 seconds and provides the usual roster of goofs and giggles. It feels like an ordinary collection of bits.

The Video Gallery presents a running montage of photos that provides behind the scenes stills as well as publicity shots. It lasts two minutes, four seconds and brings a decent set of images.

A cool addition, the music videos domain presents Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield” and Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl”. They tie in perfectly with the movie and are great fun to see, even if the Benatar video always did - and still does - suck.

The Alternate Beginning and Alternate Ending lasts 11 minutes, 35 seconds. Both are fairly similar to the existing start/finish, but they lack the character involvement of the final version.

They also use different actors for many of the parts. The “Alternate” footage isn’t any good, but it’s interesting to see.

18 deleted scenes fill a total of 27 minutes, 10 seconds.The vast majority of these depict extensions to scenes found in the final cut of the film.

A few totally new tidbits appear, like Jenna’s visit to the doctor early in the story as well as a challenge from Jenna’s young neighbor, but mainly we see smaller bits chopped form existing sequences. That makes them intriguing but not fascinating.

In the Previews area, we find ads for Big Fish, Mona Lisa Smile and Maid In Manhattan. No trailer for 13 Going on 30 appears.

No one will confuse 13 Going On 30 with a classic like Big, but it certainly fares better than most flicks in the genre. It succeeds largely due to an excellent cast, and unobtrusive direction keeps it simple and satisfying. The Blu-ray presents mediocre picture and audio along with a fairly informative compilation of supplements. I like the movie but the Blu-ray could use an upgrade.

To rate this film visit the Special Edition review of 13 GOING ON 30