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
Written by
  • Josh Goldsmith
  • Cathy Yuspa
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Cathy Yuspa
  • Josh Goldsmith
Music byTheodore Shapiro
CinematographyDon Burgess
Edited bySusan Littenberg
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • April 23, 2004 (2004-04-23)
Running time
97 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 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.


On May 26, 1987, Jenna Rink, a gawky girl, yearns to be popular, but the only way she can get the ruling clique—the "Six Chicks", led by mean girl Lucy "Tom-Tom" Wyman—to attend her upcoming 13th-birthday party is by doing their homework. Jenna's best friend, the geeky boy Matty Flamhaff (with the nickname of Beaver because he looks like the star of Leave It to Beaver), arrives early to the party to give her two presents: a bright pink, dream dollhouse that he built himself and a packet of glittery "magic wishing dust", which he sprinkles on the dollhouse roof.

The Six Chicks show up with the cutest boys in class and trick the naive Jenna into playing "seven minutes in heaven". While Jenna waits, blindfolded, in a closet, thinking a popular boy she has a crush on is about to enter, the Six Chicks vanish with all the boys, half the food and Jenna's completed homework. It is Matty who walks into the closet, to Jenna's horror. She locks herself in the closet and cries, wishing to be 30; above her, the glittering wishing dust from the dollhouse gently rains down on her.

The next morning, Jenna awakens in a gleaming Fifth Avenue apartment. Jenna's wish has come true: It is now 2004, and Jenna, at first utterly baffled, particularly by the handsome hunk in her shower, realizes she has magically turned 30 overnight, with no idea of what happened in the intervening 17 years.

Jenna discovers that she actually works for Poise, her favorite fashion magazine. Tough-as-nails Lucy is her co-editor and best friend, but the magazine itself is in serious trouble, having been scooped by a rival magazine named Sparkle so often that the editor-in-chief believes someone inside Poise is tipping them off. Jenna, freaking out like the frightened teen she still is, wants only to find Matty. She gets his address and races down to Greenwich Village where the now-grown Matt (Mark Ruffalo) is a struggling photographer. To her confusion, he is distant and cold, and cannot even fill Jenna in on much of her missing past, because she became a hot popular girl and head of the "Six now seven Chicks", and never spoke to Matt again. She even became Prom Queen—and Lucy, her only friend, is actually the original "Tom-Tom" after plastic surgery.

While delighting in her freedom and great clothes, Jenna stumbles through a grown-up world, learning enough of life to advise other 13-year-olds whom she actually prefers to hang with. But her slowly emerging past reveals she was nothing like the sweet, shy girl she had been the day before: this grown-up Jenna stole ideas, refused to speak to her parents, and has office sex with the husband of a co-worker. After Jenna overhears her supposed best friend Lucy badmouthing her, in a plan to save the magazine behind her back, she decides to fix the sins of the past she cannot remember.

She returns to her hometown in New Jersey and weeps in the same basement closet. Her parents find her there, and they reunite. She gets back in touch with Matt, gingerly apologizes and hires him to do the photography on her own new plans for Poise, which is a huge break for him. Even though Matt has a fiancée in Chicago who is eager for him to move there, Jenna and Matt begin to fall for each other.

Everyone loves Matt's photos and Jenna's new plans to save the magazine, but when Sparkle shows up yet again with this exact material, including Matt's own photographs, and with Lucy as their new head, Poise folds. Outraged, Jenna confronts Lucy for stealing, but Lucy scornfully tells her that Jenna was the one sabotaging her own magazine all along; Lucy merely found out about it and did the same thing.

Matt, wounded by what he thought was Jenna's betrayal, is getting married the next day. Jenna rushes out to the leafy suburb on his wedding day, hoping to persuade Matt that she was not the bad person she had seemed to be and that he would marry her if he could see who she really was. But Matt, already in his tuxedo, says the hands of time cannot be turned back. Matt then walks to the closet and pulls out the pink dollhouse he made for Jenna on her 13th birthday and kept for the 17 years. In tears, Jenna asks if he could give the homemade dollhouse back to her, which convinces Matt to sadly confess that he had always secretly loved her, even when she stopped being his friend. While the wedding begins in the background, Jenna looks at the dollhouse and, seeing a young Matt and herself inside, she begins to cry. As she cries specks of Matt's old dust from the dollhouse begin to whirl up around her in the breeze.

When Jenna opens her eyes, she finds herself back in 1987, on that same 13th-birthday with a second chance from the dust. This time, when Matty finds her alone in the closet, she calls out his name and kisses him. They run upstairs together, coming across Tom-Tom on the way; Jenna rips up the homework in Tom-Tom's hands. Jenna and Matty then run out of the house, emerging in what appears to be 2004 again. This time, Jenna has spent the intervening 17 years properly, and they appear together as a wedding couple on the other side of the door. In the end, we see Matt and Jenna enjoying their favourite candy together (razzles) and in the background we can see they have moved into a pink house just like the dollhouse that had started it all.


Garner filmed the picture while on break from filming her TV series Alias. Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, and Renée Zellweger were originally considered for the part played by Garner.[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.[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.[9] Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, and Renée Zellweger were all considered for the lead role.[9] 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
GenrePop, pop rock, new wave, dance-pop

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.

  1. "Head Over Heels" – The Go-Go's
  2. "Jessie's Girl" – Rick Springfield
  3. "Burning Down The House" – Talking Heads
  4. "Mad About You" – Belinda Carlisle
  5. "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" – Whitney Houston
  6. "What I Like About You" – Lillix
  7. "Ice Ice Baby" – Vanilla Ice
  8. "Crazy for You" – Madonna
  9. "Vienna" – Billy Joel
  10. "Why Can't I?" – Liz Phair
  11. "Tainted Love" – Soft Cell
  12. "Love Is a Battlefield" – Pat Benatar
  13. "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 and home media[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]

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]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Boston Globe2.5/4 stars[25]
Chicago Readerpositive[28]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[21]
LA Weeklyfavorable[29]
The New York Timesfavorable[27]
Roger Ebert2/4 stars[26]
San Francisco Chroniclefavorable[22]
USA Today3/4 stars[23]
The Village Voicefavorable[30]

The film received an approval rating of 64% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 166 reviews, with an average rating of 6.17/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "The plot's nothing new, but Garner shows a lovable flair for romantic comedies."[31] On Metacritic the film has a score of 57% based on reviews from 35 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[32] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A-, on a scale of A to F.[33]

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."[21] 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 cliches and emphasizing nuggets of emotional truth provided by Goldsmith and Yuspa."[24] 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."[25]

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."[23] The 2005 DVD and Video Guide stated, "This shameless rip-off of the Tom Hanks Classic Big is weak, but predictable and is sparked by the excellent performance of Jennifer Garner".[34]

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."[27] 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."[28] 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."[30]


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. ^ 13 Going on 30 (2004) - Trivia
  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. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  6. ^ "Filmed in South Pasadena!". 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. ^ a b "13 Going on (2004) Trivia". IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  10. ^ "Revolution's '13' is lucky number for Serkis, Ball". The Hollywood Reporter. IMDb. March 21, 2003. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  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". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  13. ^ 13 Going on 30 Soundtrack, Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ "'Man,' '13' light up boxoffice". IMDb. April 26, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  15. ^ "'Mean' Has Nice Opening". IMDb. May 3, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  16. ^ "Not Quite a Monster Smash". IMDb. May 10, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  17. ^ "'Troy' wins weekend horse race". IMDb. May 16, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  18. ^ "'Shrek 2' Becomes Summer's Film-To-Beat". IMDb. May 24, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  19. ^ "'Shrek' Wins; 'Tomorrow' Makes Waves". IMDb. May 31, 2004. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  20. ^ "13 Going on 30 Blu-ray". Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  21. ^ a b "13 Going on 30 - Movie Review". EW. 22 April 2004. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  22. ^ LaSalle, Mick (April 23, 2004). "Getting what you wish for can be dangerous -- especially if you adore Rick Springfield". San Francisco Chronicle.
  23. ^ a b 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.
  24. ^ a b Leydon, Joe (April 11, 2004). "13 Going On 30". Variety.
  25. ^ a b Morris, Wesley (April 23, 2004). "'13 Going on 30' has growing pains". The Boston Globe.
  26. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 23, 2004). "13 going on 30 :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Roger Ebert. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  27. ^ a b 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.
  28. ^ a b Andrea Gronvall. "13 Going On 30". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  29. ^ Thirteen Things I Learned Watching 13 Going on 30 - Page 1 - Film+TV - Los Angeles - LA Weekly
  30. ^ a b Jorge Morales. "13 GOING ON 30". The Village Voice.
  31. ^ "13 Going on 30 (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  32. ^ "13 Going on 30". Metacritic.
  33. ^ 13 GOING ON 30 (2004) A- CinemaScore
  34. ^ 2005 DVD and Video guide, p.1120. ISBN 0-345-44995-9.
  35. ^ Awards for 13 Going on 30 (2004). IMDb.

External links[edit]