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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Jenna: Wait, listen to me. I'm 13!
DVD ReviewThere aren't many stars working today that have enough personality and charm to light up a room but it is becoming clear that Jennifer Garner can be added to the short list. In her latest film, 13 Going on 30, Garner carries what is largely a preposterous idea through an hour and a half of undeniable fun. It's an admittedly repetitive idea, that of a child in an adult's body, and helps to create perhaps one of the most wonderful romantic comedies of the past several years.
The film begins in 1987 as young Jenna Rink (Christa Allen) is, as is any young kid, trying desperately to fit in with the cool crowd. During a party for her thirteenth birthday, Jenna declares that she wants nothing more than to date the most popular boy in school, and her best friend Matt (Jack Salvatore) proclaims that she shouldn't worry about being popular, just being herself. When her party turns into a disaster, Jenna locks herself in a closet and wishes that she could be older so that her problems would simply go away.
In the best argument for being careful what you wish for, Jenna, now played by Garner, awakens in a strange bed with a strange man, suddenly age 30. She has a job as the editor of "Poise" magazine, a star athlete for a boyfriend, and a best friend named Lucy (Greer), whom Jenna so desperately wanted to be friends with as a child. With a new world in front of her, Jenna begins to see the advantages of being older, while at the same time dealing with the panic of being in a place and time she just doesn't quite understand. Desperate to find someone who can help her, she tracks down Matt (Ruffalo) and while it seems that their friendship ended several years ago, Jenna begins to see things about Matt that she never did before.
Among the numerous reasons that 13 Going on 30 works is that it is carefree and easygoing in its approach to its story. The film does miss the boat when it comes to the obvious advances in technology or even the developments in politics and pop culture; although there are a few throwaway moments in which these issues are addressed, I was hoping for more. Instead, the picture delves into the effects on Jenna's love life, and, while the past seventeen years did actually happen, Jenna does not remember them, so the film is more or less a story of Jenna moving on with her life at thirty rather than trying to piece together what happened during the missing years.
Garner turns in absolutely delightful performance that will likely go down as one of the best of the year. She handles the role perfectly, and every mannerism, gesture, and line delivery is dead on, so much so that at times the preposterous plot mechanism almost seems possible. Ruffalo again proves that he is one of the best leading men working today, and if there is any justice he will be a huge star.
I also appreciated the way in which the film shows that what Jenna always wanted were in fact things that are troublesome to her when she has finally reached the age of thirty. Her life is not as easy and perfect as she had wished, and this adds a tad of edge to a fluffy script: Jenna's employees are afraid of her; her initial meeting with Matt has an element of awkwardness to it; and her fiancé is rather shallow. I admired that the script chose to show the downsides of Jenna's new life.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+
Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image presentation for 13 Going on 30 is pristine, and stands as one of the best transfers released in the past several months. Colors are perfect; the reds and pinks that appear on Garner's costumes look sharp and vibrant throughout. Sharpness and detail are also nearly perfect, resulting in perhaps the most film-like transfer I have seen in recent memory. Nearly every frame in this transfer looks remarkably like a picture. There are a few small moments of mild edge enhancement, but there is never enough to lower the quality of the transfer.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for 13 Going on 30 is what one would expect from a romantic comedy, anchored largely in the center channel throughout. This is fine as the dialogue is crisp and clear with no distortion or dropouts at any point. The rear speakers do come into play on occasion, especially when music is played on the soundtrack. This is an uneventful mix but it is certainly done well.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
18 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Gary Winnick,Gina Matthews, Donna Roth, and Susan Arnold
There are 18 deleted and extended scenes. Many of these excised scenes offer some value and would have been fine had they been left in the film. Some add a tad more depth to the characters, something that would have been appreciated in the final cut. A brief blooper reel as well as a standard promotion featurette are also offered, with each being rather boring and uneventful.
Now we have my four favorite features, bonus material that actually makes the disc worthwhile to me. The best extra feature is a brief piece titled I Was a Teenage Geek, a look at the stars of the film in their high school years along with embarrassing photographs of each, including Garner. This a hilarious and a "must see" for anyone who looks back upon high school and can't believe that they ever looked the way that they did. Music videos are offered for Rick Springfield's Jesse's Girl and Pat Benetar's Love Is a Battlefield, and the inclusion of these two videos is a nice touch as each is admittedly a guilty pleasure of mine. Finally we get two set-top games that are no more than memory-style games, but they are fun to play once or twice.
The films theatrical trailer and an image gallery are also offered.
Extras Grade: A-
Final Comments13 Going on 30 is a winning romantic comedy that is intelligent throughout and boasts an absolutely charming performance by Garner. Though it may suffer from comparisons to Big and Freaky Friday, this is a picture that deserves to stand alone on its own merits.
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