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13 GOING ON 30

13 GOING ON 30 ($29) is genuinely charming, sweet and funny, not to mention that Jennifer Garner is absolutely adorable. And in case you havenít guess it- let me just say that I really loved this movie. Sure, there will be those that will want to draw comparisons between 13 GOING ON 30 and BIG, but for my money, this delightful romantic comedy stands on its own two feet. While the script is certainly clever and funny, the thing that really makes 13 GOING ON 30 a special movie is Jennifer Garner enthusiastic performance. Garner really embodies the characterís thirteen-year-old mindset, bringing a believable innocence and a genuinely childlike sense of fun to her character. Garner also has good chemistry with her leading man Mark Ruffalo, which makes the romantic aspects of the story work as well as the comedy.

13 GOING ON 30 opens in 1987, where we are introduced to a thirteen year old Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen), who is at the awkward age and wants nothing more out of life to be popular and fit in. After the embarrassment of a failed birthday party, where she is used and discarded by the popular girls at her school, Jenna wishes that she was Thirty, Flirty & Thriving," just like the women she sees in Poise Magazine. Well, low and behold, Jenna gets her wish- instantly waking up seventeen years later to discover that she is thirty years old and would seem to be everything she wanted. Of course, in her mind, she is still thirteen years old, and has no clue as to who she is now, or how she got to be the editor of the very magazine she loved so much at thirteen.

Being somewhat lost in the adult world, Jenna decides to contact her childhood best friend Matt Flamhaff (Ruffalo). However, when Jenna shows up on Mattís doorstep, he is completely surprised to her, since they drifted apart immediately after her ill-fated thirteenth birthday party. This turns out to be the first of many surprising discoveries that Jenna- "the thirteen-year-old" makes about the life of Jenna- "the thirty-year-old." In addition to its two leads, 13 GOING ON 30 features great comic supporting performances from Judy Greer and Andy Serkis, who shine every time they are on screen. The cast of 13 GOING ON 30 also includes Kathy Baker, Phil Reeves, Sean Marquette, Lynn Collins and Renee Olstead.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made 13 GOING ON 30 available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Everything appears crisp, bright and colorful- making this a terrific looking transfer of an appealingly photographed movie. The image always appears very nicely defined, which allows one to appreciate the movieís very attractive production design and great costuming. While colors tend to jump out at the viewer, they never seem to bleed or give the appearance of fuzziness. Additionally, flesh tones are very appealing and appear wholly natural. Blacks are rich, whites pure and the picture boasts smooth contrast and a very nice dimensional quality. The film elements used for the transfer appear virtually blemish free and display almost no appreciable film grain. Digital are generally very well contained.

13 GOING ON 30 comes with a rather nice Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack, even if the film features pretty standard comedy mix. Personally, I loved the filmís use of eighties music- especially the Poise Magazine party sequence, which goes totally retro with everyone dancing to Michael Jacksonís Thriller. Channel separation is good across the front, especially for the filmís musical component. As for the surround channels, they supply little more than ambient sounds and some musical reinforcement. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the filmís dialogue is always completely understandable. The bass channel is perfectly respectable for a soundtrack that places virtually no demands on it. A French 5.1 soundtrack has also been provided, as have English and French subtitles.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's cute interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a nice complement of extras. 13 GOING ON 30 features two separate running audio commentary tracks, the first is with director Gary Winick, while the second includes producers Gina Matthews, Donna Arkoff-Roth and Susan Arnold. Both talks have their strong points; but casual listeners will probably find the directorís comments more accessible. Next, there are eighteen deleted scenes/scene extensions that offer some fun material, although most of it obviously wound up on the cutting room floor to keep the filmís pacing snappy.

Making Of A Teen Dream is a pleasant eighteen-minute look behind-the-scenes, with the usual complement of "happy talk" interviews. I Was A Teenage Geek runs almost eight-minutes and offers some real fun; with members of the cast remembering the nerds they used to be- something that is documented with actual photographs. A Blooper Reel, plus a couple of interactive games are also provided, as are retro music videos for Pat Benetar's Love Is A Battlefield and Rick Springfield's Jesse's Girl. A video gallery plus trailers/previews for 13 GOING ON 30, SEINFELD, ANACONDAS, HELLBOY, LITTLE BLACK BOOK, SECRET WINDOW, THE FORGOTTEN and WHITE CHICKS close out the supplements.

13 GOING ON 30 is a genuinely delightful romantic comedy that benefits greatly from Jennifer Garnerís infectious performance. The DVD looks great and sounds just fine, plus it offers some enjoyable supplemental content. If you are looking for a DVD to tickle your funny bone or are a child of the 1980s, you will want to spend some time with Jennifer Garner and 13 GOING ON 30. Recommended.


13 GOING ON 30 

13 Going on 30 (Special Edition) (2004)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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