13 Going on 30 Parent Guide
The movie cautions teens not to grow up before their time -- yet does so by including mature content in the script.
Parent Movie Review
Remember the maxim: “Be careful what you wish for or you just might get it”? Well, it’s too bad thirteen-year-old Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen) didn’t. Impatiently waiting for puberty to turn her into a woman, she dreams of being just like the cover girls featured in her favorite fashion magazine—Thirty, Flirty and Thriving.
In an effort to jump-start her adolescent life, the junior high student invites the school’s coolest clique to her birthday party. Painting her face with makeup and stuffing tissues down her shirt, Jenna is willing to do anything to be accepted into the group. Consequently, she is gullible enough to play Seven Minutes in Heaven, a game that involves being blindfolded and locked in a closet while an unidentified male does whatever he wants with you. When she discovers the in-crowd has abandoned her to her equally unpopular neighbor Matt Flamhaff (Jack Salvatore Jr.), the devastated girl makes a desperate wish.
The next day Jenna awakes to find she has an adult body (played by Jennifer Garner), a New York apartment, and a naked man in her shower. Like a page out of the Rip Van Winkle fairytale, seventeen years of her life have gone by and she has no recollection of any of them. Anxious to make some sense out of the situation, Jenna looks for a familiar face. With a little work, she tracks down Matt (Mark Ruffalo) and is surprised to learn that they are not the best friends they used to be.
Although believing her amnesia may be the result of drugs or drinking, the patient man kindly fills the missing gaps in the confused woman’s memory—for auld lang syne, if for no other reason. By the end of their discussion, the nearly giddy girl realizes she is an attractive thirty year-old who is flirting with fame and romance while employed as an assistant editor for a thriving fashion magazine.
But that bubbly “what more could I ask for” feeling slowly fizzles as the ambitious career woman discovers more about the person she has become. From her vantage point near the top of the corporate ladder, Jenna compares her past with her present, and begins to realize she may not have all she really hoped for.
Many a parent has cautioned a teen not to grow up before their time. 13 Going on 30 builds its comedy around that theme by plunging the naivety of adolescence into the sexual savvy of the adult world. The script swims in innuendo, splashes around a fair amount of mild and moderate language, as well as dabbles in party portrayals where main characters drink and smoke. Such content is sure to make many families uncomfortable wading in these waters.
Yet, the movie really sparkles in its depiction of Matt. In contrast to Jenna, who is willing to sell her soul for success, he exemplifies faithful friendship, never letting popularity nor personal gain sway his loyalty. His selfless nature makes the rewards of choosing peers wisely crystal clear.
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, but if Jenna really had to ignore an old saying, the one she should have chosen was “Nice guys always finish last.”Directed by Gary Winick. Starring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release April 23, 2004. Updated September 15, 2017
13 Going on 30 Parents' Guide
At thirteen, Jenna was willing to do anything to become popular. How did that attitude influence the choices she made over the next seventeen years? Do you believe decisions you make in your youth can profoundly affect the rest of your life, like they did for this character?
During a mother/daughter talk about making mistakes, Jenna expresses feelings of regret, while her mom sees learning opportunities. Why do the two women view such experiences so differently? Can regrets ever be turned into learning experiences?
The most recent home video release of 13 Going on 30 movie is January 20, 2009. Here are some details…
Release Date: 20 January 2009
13 Going on 30 releases to Blu-ray Disc with the following bonus materials:
- Featurettes (Making of a Teen Dream, The Making of a Teen Dream: Another Take and I Was a Teenage Geek).
- Commentary with Directors and Producers
- Alternate Beginning /ending and 18 deleted scenes.
- A short film (Fashion Flashback: Into the ‘80’s).
- A photomontage with video still gallery.
- Blooper reel.
- Music videos (Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar and Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield).
Related home video titles:
A forty-year-old man compares the reality of his present life with the dreams of his childhood in Disney’s The Kid. Jimmy Stewart has the opportunity to see his regrets as blessings in the film, It’s a Wonderful Life. The long lasting consequences of youthful decisions are explored in a more serious way in the movie, Riding in Cars With Boys.