"A Second Chance"
What You Need To Know:
13 GOING ON 30 has a few laughs, and the love story is sweet and believable. The 13-year-old Jenna is disgusted by her 30-year-old self who sleeps around, cheats with a married man, drinks a lot, ignores anyone “beneath” her, and sells her magazine’s ideas to its competitor. What’s important is that Jenna wants to repair these sinful behaviors. She chooses what is good and true over what will bring her success, even if it means losing her dream job. The adult Jenna’s partying and live-in boyfriend will pose a problem for younger viewers. Overall, on the other hand, the story is warm and relates an important, positive lesson.
(BB, C, Pa, LL, V, S, N, A, D, M) Dominant moral worldview with redemptive premise encourages correcting mistakes and love for others over selfish goals, with a magical plot device as well as presentation of some pagan morality that allows partying and sleeping around but which is mostly rebuked; six obscenities and seven profanities; some slapstick comedy violence; moderate sexual innuendo and fornication implied, plus adultery rebuked; man walks through apartment in towel and woman in nightgown; characters drink alcohol at party and at restaurants, and middle schooler requests beer; character is asked if she is “on drugs”; and, schoolgirls bully another girl, woman betrays friends and steals their ideas at work, and extensive product placement.
13 GOING ON 30 is a feel-good retelling of BIG aimed at young females. The plot is familiar: an unpopular and unhappy 13-year-old wishes she was 30 only to have the wish come true. She wakes up in a swank New York apartment and finds that she is a rich magazine editor with a famous boyfriend. When she tracks down her best friend from middle school, she realizes that she has led a shallow, self-interested life since 13 and begins trying to fix it. Starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, this movie contains a positive message about difficult moral choices and selfishness, although that message is surrounded by some adult elements.
As Jenna Rink, played by Garner, learns about what her life is like at age 30, she is shocked at all of the things she does. Jenna sleeps around, cheats with a married man, drinks a lot, ignores anyone who is “beneath” her, and sells her magazine’s ideas to its competitor. The 13-year-old Jenna is disgusted by what her 30-year-old self does. This heightened moral sense is actually a plot device to get Jenna together with her middle school pal Matt, but it remains very telling: the middle school version of Jenna had a keener morality than the adult. She had decided, in those 17 years, that the immoral behaviors were all right because money and success gave her permission to act in such nasty ways.
What’s important, however, is that Jenna wants to repair her sinful behaviors. She chooses what is good and true over what will bring her success, even if it means that she can no longer have her dream job at the magazine. Later, she gets another chance at being 13, and this time she does it right.
13 GOING ON 30 has some goofy and slapstick humor that will work for those who want to like the movie. The love story is warm and believable, if not a classic. The adult Jenna’s partying, and live-in boyfriend, could pose a problem for parents thinking about taking their children to see the movie. Overall, however, the story is warm and relates an important, positive lesson.