13 Going on 30

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13 Going on 30
13 Going on 30 film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGary Winick
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Cathy Yuspa
  • Josh Goldsmith
Story by
  • Cathy Yuspa
  • Josh Goldsmith
Music byTheodore Shapiro
CinematographyDon Burgess
Edited bySusan Littenberg
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • April 23, 2004 (2004-04-23)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$37 million[1]
Box office$96.5 million[1]

13 Going on 30 (released as Suddenly 30 in some countries) is a 2004 American fantasy romantic comedy film written by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, directed by Gary Winick, and starring Jennifer Garner. It follows a 13-year-old girl who dreams of being popular. During her birthday party, she is humiliated by her classmates and wishes that she was 30 years old. When she eventually does emerge, she finds herself suddenly 30 years old and in 2004, uncertain how she got there.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with many praising Garner's performance and its nostalgic environment. It was also praised for its humorous plot and self-empowering message. The film was also a commercial success, earning $22 million in its first week and grossing over $96 million, becoming one of the year's biggest-selling DVD rental titles. Additionally, the soundtrack charted inside the top 50 on the US Billboard 200 chart. Garner's acting earned her nominations from both the MTV Movie Awards and the Teen Choice Awards.


In 1987, young and geeky Jenna Rink yearns to be popular, but can only persuade the "Six Chicks" – the ruling clique led by Lucy "Tom-Tom" Wyman – to attend her 13th-birthday party by doing their homework. Jenna's best friend, Matt "Matty" Flamhaff, brings her a pink dollhouse he made himself, and a packet of "magic wishing dust" he sprinkles on the dollhouse roof.

The Six Chicks arrive with the cutest boys in class, and trick Jenna into playing "seven minutes in heaven". While Jenna waits blindfolded in a closet, expecting to kiss one of the boys, the Six Chicks and the boys leave with her completed homework, and Matty finds Jenna alone. Humiliated, she tearfully wishes to be 30, as the wishing dust falls on her. The next morning, Jenna awakens in a luxurious Fifth Avenue apartment – her wish has come true: It is now 2004, and Jenna is 30, with no memory of the intervening 17 years.

Jenna discovers she works for Poise, her favorite fashion magazine, with her co-editor and best friend Lucy. Poise has been scooped so often by rival magazine Sparkle that editor-in-chief Richard believes someone is tipping them off. Jenna finds Matty's address and races to Greenwich Village where the adult Matt, a struggling photographer, is unable to fill in her missing past, as she became head of the "Six Chicks (Now Seven Chicks)" and stopped speaking to him. Lucy is revealed to be the adult Tom-Tom, having had plastic surgery.

While delighting in her freedom, Jenna stumbles through adult life, learning enough to advise the 13-year-olds she prefers to spend time with. She saves a Poise party by leading the guests, including Matt, in an impromptu performance of the "Thriller" line dance. Her slowly emerging past reveals that the adult Jenna is nothing like the sweet, shy girl she was the day before. This Jenna stole ideas, refused to speak to her parents, and had office sex with a co-worker's husband. The struggling magazine is forced to redesign, and Jenna overhears Lucy badmouthing her, planning to cut Jenna out of her redesign presentation.

Jenna returns to her childhood home in New Jersey, weeping in the same basement closet and reuniting with her parents. She apologizes to Matt, and hires him for her yearbook-inspired redesign photoshoot. Even though Matt is engaged to Wendy, who is eager for him to move to Chicago, Jenna and Matt begin to fall for each other.

Jenna's plans to save the magazine are a rousing success, while Lucy's presentation fails, and she lies to Matt that Jenna decided not to use his pictures. Looking for Matt to deliver the good news, Jenna finds Wendy, who reveals their wedding is the next day. Richard informs Jenna that Lucy gave Jenna's material, including Matt's photographs, to Sparkle and has become their new editor-in-chief, effectively killing Poise. Jenna confronts Lucy, who scornfully reveals that she discovered Jenna was the one sabotaging her own magazine; Lucy merely stole the job Jenna was to receive.

Jenna rushes to Matt's childhood home, next door to hers, where the wedding will soon be underway. Finding Matt, she declares that she is not the bad person she seemed to be, and that he would marry her if he could see who she really was. But Matt, already in his tuxedo, tells her they cannot turn back time and he intends to marry Wendy, but reveals the pink dollhouse he has kept for 17 years. In tears, Jenna asks for it back, and Matt sadly confesses that he always loved her. Jenna sits with the dollhouse as the wedding begins, and sees a young Matt and herself inside. She shuts her eyes, and specks of the wishing dust whirl around her.

Opening her eyes, Jenna finds herself back in 1987 on her 13th birthday. This time, when Matty finds her alone in the closet, she kisses him. Confronting Lucy, Jenna rips up the homework and runs upstairs with Matty. With this second chance, Jenna lives the intervening 17 years differently, with her and Matt emerging in 2004 as a newly married couple. They share their favorite candy, Razzles, while moving into a pink house identical to the dollhouse.


Garner filmed the picture while on break from filming her TV series Alias.[2] Christa B. Allen, who portrays 13-year-old Jenna, would later "reprise" her role as a younger version of Jennifer Garner by portraying the teenaged version of Jenny Perotti in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.


Garner (shown here in 2013) plays lead character Jenna Rink

In October 2002, American director Gary Winick was in negotiations to direct 13 Going on 30.[3] It was also announced that Susan Arnold and Donna Arkoff Roth were producing the project with the writers' manager, Gina Matthews.[2][3] On May 13, 2003, it was reported that filming for the movie was underway in Los Angeles on Revolution Studios.[4] It was filmed in Los Angeles, California, New York City, and South Pasadena, California.[5][6] Interiors shots were filmed in Los Angeles. The crew moved to New York City, where they shot exteriors for 17 days.[7] Principal photography took place from May to November 2003. Written by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, the script was "polished" by Niels Mueller (who lost an initial writing credit in a subsequent dispute arbitrated by the Writers Guild of America).[8]

American actress Jennifer Garner was cast for the movie's lead role. In order to film the picture, Garner shot it while on break from filming her TV series Alias.[2] Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, and Renée Zellweger were all considered for the lead role.[9][better source needed] Judy Greer was cast to play Lucy, Garner's best friend; Kathy Baker and Phil Reeves were invited to be Garner's mother and father, respectively.[4] Later, Andy Serkis was selected to play Garner's boss; while Samuel Ball was announced as Garner's boyfriend.[10] Christa B. Allen, who portrayed 13-year-old Jenna, later "reprised" her role as a younger version of Jennifer Garner by portraying the teenaged version of Jenny Perotti in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.[11] In October 2016, it was announced 13 Going on 30 was going to be adapted on Broadway in late 2017, but as 2017 came and went, no such adaptation ever occurred.[12]



13 Going on 30 Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedApril 20, 2004

The 13 Going on 30 soundtrack was released on April 20, 2004 from Hollywood Records.[13] The album mostly contains music from the 1980s with a range of hits from famous recording artists such as Talking Heads, Billy Joel, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar and Whitney Houston. There is also a handful of songs performed by contemporary artists, such as Lillix and Liz Phair. It was released on April 20, 2004 by Hollywood Records.

Track Listing[edit]

1."Head over Heels"Charlotte Caffey, Kathy Valentine3:38
2."Jessie's Girl" 3:14
3."Burning Down the House" 4:01
4."Mad About You"Paula Jean Brown, James Whelan, Mitchel Young Evans3:36

  1. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" – Whitney Houston
  1. "What I Like About You" – Lillix
  1. "Ice Ice Baby" – Vanilla Ice
  1. "Crazy for You" – Madonna
  1. "Vienna" – Billy Joel
  1. "Why Can't I?" – Liz Phair
  1. "Tainted Love" – Soft Cell
  1. "Love Is a Battlefield" – Pat Benatar
  1. "Will I Ever Make It Home" – Ingram Hill

Other songs featured in the film[edit]

The songs "Breathe" by Michelle Branch and "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls were featured in promotional trailers, but were not featured in the movie or on the soundtrack.

Original score[edit]

13 Going on 30
Film score by
ReleasedApril 6, 2004
LabelHollywood Records
Theodore Shapiro chronology
Starsky & Hutch
13 Going on 30
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story
  1. "Prologue" (4:19)
  2. "Jenna Dream House" (1:13)
  3. "Transformation" (0:31)
  4. "Wake Up" (2:03)
  5. "Naked Guy" (0:36)
  6. "Off to Work" (0:29)
  7. "Poise" (0:43)
  8. "Paper Throw" (0:28)
  9. "Can I Go?" (1:05)
  10. "Matt's Apt" (0:46)
  11. "Fluffy Pillow" (0:49)
  12. "Au Revoir" (0:44)
  13. "Good Luck With Fractions" (0:35)
  14. "Mean Messages" (0:25)
  15. "Eavesdropping" (0:46)
  16. "Yearbook Idea" (1:14)
  17. "Elevator" (0:25)
  18. "Swings" (01:49)
  19. "Assemble the Proposal" (0:39)
  20. "Hang in There" (0:38)
  21. "Angry Lucy" (0:15)
  22. "Presentation" (2:30)
  23. "Sneaking" (0:59)
  24. "Rain Montage" (1:08)
  25. "Getting Married Tomorrow" (0:29)
  26. "Sparkle Bus Overlay" (0:39)
  27. "Dream House Revisited" (1:28)
  28. "30 to 13" (0:38)
  29. "Crazy for You Overlay" (1:09)

Release and reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film opened on April 23, 2004, with an initial box office take of US$22 million in its first weekend, debuting at number 2, almost tied with Denzel Washington's thriller Man on Fire.[14] In its second week, it dropped to number 3, earning US$10 million.[15] In its third week, it fell to number 5, earning US$5.5 million.[16]In its fourth week, it took sixth place with an estimated $4.2 million.[17] In its fifth week, it only fell to number 7, with an estimated $2.5 million.[18] In its sixth week, the film fell to number 9, earning $1 million.[19] It ended with nearly $60 million at the domestic box office.[1]

Home media[edit]

The film became one of the five biggest DVD rentals of the year, with over $57 million in rentals alone according to the Internet Movie Database. The film's success on DVD granted it a re-release (The Fun and Flirty Edition) in 2006 with special packaging. The picture grossed $96,455,697, going on to become one of the year's biggest DVD rentals and sellers.[1] The Blu-ray version of 13 Going on 30 was released on January 20, 2009.[20]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 65% based on reviews from 179 critics, with an average rating of 6.20/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Although the plot leaves a lot to be desired, 13 Going on 30 will tug at your inner teenager's heartstrings thanks in large part to a dazzling performance from Jennifer Garner."[21] On Metacritic the film has a score of 57% based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[22] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A-, on a scale of A to F.[23]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a very positive review with a grade of "A-", writing "13 Going on 30 is the rare commercial comedy that leaves you entranced by what can happen only in the movies." Gleiberman also praised Jennifer Garner's performance, writing: "She cuts out all traces of adult consciousness, of irony and flirtation and manipulation, reducing herself to a keen, goggle-eyed earnestness that's utterly beguiling."[24] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "The possibilities of Jenna's confusion are exploited for full comic effect. Garner, who turns out to be a charming, abandoned comedian, makes Jenna's incredulousness and innocence very funny and occasionally even touching."[25] Joe Leydon of Variety also praised her performance, writing "Garner throws herself so fully and effectively into the role that in a few key scenes, she vividly conveys Jenna's high spirits and giddy pleasure through the graceful curling of her toes." Leydon praised the director Gary Winick for "bringing a fresh spin to most of the script's clichés and emphasizing nuggets of emotional truth provided by Goldsmith and Yuspa."[26] Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe wrote that "The movie is tailor-made for women who openly lust for dream houses, dream jobs, and dream hubbies." He also wrote that "the best stuff involves the childhood preamble. (The young actors playing Jenna, Matt, and Lucy are terrific.) Those moments feel painfully, comically true."[27]

Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, commenting, "This romantic comedy is intended as a cautionary fairy tale. The silly humor works with the movie's gentle message of self-empowerment and avoids sappiness in a tender interlude where the adult Jenna returns to her childhood home. Amusing, charming and pleasantly nostalgic, 13 Going on 30 should fall easily onto moviegoers' wish lists."[28] Mick Martin and Marsha Porter's 2005 DVD and Video Guide called it a "shameless rip-off of the Tom Hanks' classic Big", adding that it was "weak, but predictable and is sparked by the excellent performance of Jennifer Garner".[29][30]

Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times wrote: "The performances give the movie more flavor and life than the situation does; it often feels like prechewed Bubble Yum. The message of the plot is that a lack of sophistication is the key to success, even at a fashion magazine that attracts readers through sexy exhibitionism. The movie would have shown some daring savvy if it had played more with the role-playing aspect of fashion spreads. Instead, it is content to eat its retro snack cake and have it, too."[31] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it 2 out of 4 and wrote: "You buy the magic because it comes with the territory. What I couldn't buy was the world of the magazine office, and the awkward scenes in which high-powered professionals don't seem to notice that they're dealing with a 13-year-old mind."[32] Andrea Gronvall of the Chicago Reader wrote that "The formula works, thanks in large part to star Jennifer Garner, who's so radiant theaters should be stocking sunblock. Underlying the shenanigans and the pop-psychology moral—self-love is a prerequisite for true love—there's a touching wistfulness about roads not taken."[33] Jorge Morales of The Village Voice commented: "The thirtysomething in me was all, gag me with a spoon, but the kid in me was like, this movie's rad to the max."[34]


Garner was nominated for MTV Movie Award and Teen Choice awards for her role as Jenna Rink.[35]


  1. ^ a b c d e "13 Going on 30 (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Fleming, Michael (28 January 2003). "Good 'Going' for Ruffalo, Revolution". Variety.
  3. ^ a b "Winick big on Revolution's '13'". The Hollywood Reporter. IMDb. October 9, 2002. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  4. ^ a b ""13 Going on 30" Gets Underway". About.com. May 13, 2003. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  5. ^ Bosely, Candice (April 11, 2004). "Bunker Hill native to appear in movie '13 Going on 30'". The Herald-Mail. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  6. ^ "Filmed in South Pasadena!". August 13, 2013. Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  7. ^ "13 Going on 30 Production Notes - 2004 Movie Releases". Madeinatlantis.com. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  8. ^ ""13 Going on 30 written by Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith with "polishing" by Niels Mueller"". Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  9. ^ "13 Going on (2004) Trivia". IMDb.
  10. ^ "Revolution's '13' is lucky number for Serkis, Ball". The Hollywood Reporter. March 21, 2003. Retrieved October 29, 2014 – via IMDb.
  11. ^ Semigran, Aly (April 23, 2014). "10 Things You Never Knew About '13 Going on 30'". Bustle. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "13 Going on 30 Musical Aiming for Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  13. ^ 13 Going on 30 Soundtrack, Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ "'Man,' '13' light up boxoffice". The Hollywood Reporter. April 26, 2004. Retrieved January 1, 2021 – via IMDb.
  15. ^ "'Mean' Has Nice Opening". IMDb. May 3, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Not Quite a Monster Smash". IMDb. May 10, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "'Troy' wins weekend horse race". The Hollywood Reporter. May 16, 2004. Retrieved January 1, 2021 – via IMDb.
  18. ^ "'Shrek 2' Becomes Summer's Film-To-Beat". IMDb. May 24, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "'Shrek' Wins; 'Tomorrow' Makes Waves". IMDb. May 31, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "13 Going on 30 Blu-ray". The Numbers. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  21. ^ "13 Going on 30 (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved Jan 1, 2021.
  22. ^ "13 Going on 30". Metacritic. Retrieved Jan 1, 2021.
  23. ^ "13 GOING ON 30 (2004) A-". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  24. ^ Owen Gleiberman (22 April 2004). "13 Going on 30 - Movie Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  25. ^ LaSalle, Mick (April 23, 2004). "Getting what you wish for can be dangerous -- especially if you adore Rick Springfield". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  26. ^ Leydon, Joe (April 11, 2004). "13 Going On 30". Variety.
  27. ^ Morris, Wesley (April 23, 2004). "'13 Going on 30' has growing pains". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  28. ^ Puig, Claudia (April 22, 2004). "'13 Going on 30' not just for kids". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 5, 2004. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  29. ^ 2005 DVD and Video guide, p.1120. ISBN 0-345-44995-9.
  30. ^ Foundas, Scott (April 22, 2004). "Thirteen Things I Learned Watching 13 Going on 30". LA Weekly.
  31. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (April 23, 2004). "13 Going On 30 (2004) FILM REVIEW; Freaky Future: An Awkward Teenager Finds Herself Fast-Forwarded to Adulthood". The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  32. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 23, 2004). "13 going on 30 movie review & film summary (2004)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  33. ^ Andrea Gronvall. "13 Going On 30". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  34. ^ Jorge Morales (2004-04-13). "13 GOING ON 30". The Village Voice.
  35. ^ Awards for 13 Going on 30 (2004). IMDb.

External links[edit]