13 Going On 30

by Chad Durham

Jennifer Garner can cry. After watching almost every episode of “Alias” (Sunday evenings 8PM CST, ABC.) during its first three seasons I can safely say this: Paul Simon might know “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” but Jennifer knows 50 ways to cry. 

Sometimes, she makes me cry in the process. But I’m an old softie these days and I digress.

She also just might be the first truly great action babe. Garner’s turn at Elektra in “Daredevil” was probably that movie’s saving grace and she’s set to return and dazzle us once more in “Elektra” in 2005, but each and every week (Sunday evenings 8PM CST just in case you were wondering) she vamps across the globe to places far and wide that in no way resemble Southern California fighting evil as well as her own neurosis, which are many.

If anything, “13 Going on 30” is Garner’s chance to show the world that she can do much more than cry and kick derrière. In this cute little flick we get to see the loveable and adorable Jennifer Garner. It is the perfect vehicle to establish her broad range as an actress. Yes, she can make you cry. Yes, she can get you to sit on the edge of your seat. We already knew she could throw down a beatin’ and cry on cue three takes in row, but did you know that she can make you fall out of your seat with laughter? Her comic chops are readily seen in this role and she pulls off every line, every pratfall, and every situation like the most veteran comedian.

Let’s face it, she has to carry this movie because “13 Going on 30” is nothing more than “Big” with a gender twist. And we know it. Not only have we seen “Big”, we’ve come to believe that Tom Hanks is the second coming of Jimmy Stewart. In that sense “13 Going on 30” will have an uphill battle at the box office. On the other hand, it could open the door to a world of possibilities for a talented young actress the same way “Big” kicked them down for Hanks. Garners endearing performance overcomes any comparison between to the two films.

Mark Ruffalo lends a credible performance as “the sweetest guy in the world” and Judy Greer is perfectly nasty as Lucy, that ugly-hearted snobby but gorgeous girl we all knew in high school who only grow up to become ugly-hearted, gorgeous but despicable human beings. This one is rated PG-13 and contains only a handful of select words generally heard on television. There is a scene in which Garner’s grown-up boyfriend performs a striptease down to his white briefs and a few sexual references, but for the most part this one is pretty clean. Due to the striptease however, I wouldn’t recommend it for kids.

“13 Going on 30” gets a MATINEE rating, but without Garner it would have been a real stinker.

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