13 going on 30 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 15, 2009 by  

“Fun, heartwarming and charming… the 2004 romantic comedy ’13 going on 30′ featuring awesome performances by Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo is now out on Blu-ray.  Plenty of special features and much more!  Definitely one romantic comedy worthy of adding to your Blu-ray collection!”

© 2004 Revolution Studios Distribution Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: 13 going on 30

DURATION: 98 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: Color, 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English, French (Canadian), Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish (Latin Am) 5.1,  Thai 5.1 Subtitles(s): Chinese (Mandarin Simplified), Chinese (Mandarin Traditional), English (UK), English (US), French (Parisian), Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Latin Am)

COMPANY:  Columbia Pictures/Revolution Studios/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Some Sexual Content and Brief Drug References)

Release Date: January 20, 2009

Directed by Gary Winick

Produced by Susan Arnold, Donna Arkoff Roth and Gina Matthews

Written by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa

Executive Producers: Todd Garner and Dan Kolsrud

Production Designer: Garreth Stover

Music by Theodore Shapiro

Film Editor: Susan Littenberg

Music Supervision by John Houlihan


Jennifer Garner as Jenna Rink

Mark Ruffalo as Matt Flamhaff

Judy Greer as Lucy Wyman

Andy Serkis as Richard Kneeland

Kathy Baker as Bev Rink

Phil Reeves as Wayne Rink

Samuel Ball as Alex Carlson

Jennifer Garner (Daredevil, TV’s “Alias”) and Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) star in this hilarious flash-forward romance about a pre-teen girl who goes from geek to glamorous.With the help of some magic wishing dust, 13 year-old Jenna Rink (Garner) becomes 30 and gorgeous overnight, with everything she ever wanted, except for her best friend Matt (Ruffalo). Now, this grown woman must create some magic of her own to help the little girl inside find the true love she left behind.

When this film came out back in 2004, I felt it was a fantastic romantic comedy. Romantic, charming and enjoyable.

With two great performances by Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, there were many things that made this film so enjoyable.  From the beautiful locations the film was shot in New York, a funny but touching storyline but also that 80’s style, may it be the clothing or the music of that time and with one of the most memorable dance scenes in a film with everyone jamming to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, “13 going on 30” is all out fun!

Here we are five years later and with two DVD releases, the popular romantic comedy will now be released on Blu-ray.  So, I’m sure many of you who owned a previous version of the film on DVD maybe wondering, if this Blu-ray release is worth it?  Read on!

The film takes place in 1987 with a teenager named Jenna Rink who is celebrating her 13th birthday and trying to fit in.  She hangs out with her best friend, the photographer named Matt Flamhaff.    She invites the cool kids at school to show up to her party and really wants to be part of that click, so she does the homework for the cool girl Lucy aka “Tom Tom” in order to be cool.

But Jenna is a girl that doesn’t like her body. She stuffs her bra, she hates her outfits and she gets her ideas from a popular womens magazine “Poise”, she tells her mother that she wishes that she was “30” because the article in the magazine talks about women in their 30’s having fun.

Before the party starts, Matt surprises her with a gift that he has built for weeks.  It’s her pink “dream house” which feature little things about Jenna that Matt put his heart into.  The final cherry on top is a sprinkle of magic dust.

As the popular kids come, Lucy just uses Jenna to do her homework and so in order to get her latest homework from Jenna, she has to attend the party.   So, as the popular kids go to Jenna’s party, they tease Jenna in making her feel that she is part of them and that the popular guy at school will join her in the closet and make out with her.

Thus Jenna goes into the closet, all excited that she can be with the popular boy in high school and is blindfolded.  While she waits in the closet, Lucy takes her homework and everyone leaves the party except for Matt.  Matt has no idea why everyone is bailing but Lucy tells Matt to go into the closet because Jenna is waiting for him.

When Matt goes inside, Jenna takes off her blindfold and is shocked that Matt is in the closet and even more upset that all the cool kids are gone.  She blames it all on Matt and as she sits tearfully in the closet pouting.  She repeats that she wishes she was 30 and as she continually bumps the shelves behind her, a sprinkle of that magic dust from that house that Matt built for her falls on her.

Next thing you know, Jenna (Garner) now wakes up in 2004.  Her 13-year-old self is still conscious but she’s in a body of her 30-year-old self.   Jenna doesn’t understand why she’s now an adult, why there is a naked guy in her apartment and surprised that she has a career at “Poise” Magazine.

Jenna is not only very successful in her career but her partner at work happens to be Lucy (aka Tom Tom).  But not all is good at Poise Magazine, they are in a heated competition for sales and readership against their rivals Sparkle Magazine, a magazine that is surpassing Poise Magazine in sales and is under stressful times as they need to change their image in order to bring in more readership.

So, shocked that something weird is going on, she tries to find Matt and eventually meets up with him.  Matt (Ruffalo) is now a professional photographer and you learn that Matt and Jenna have not spoken for 17 years and Matt can’t understand why Jenna is back in his life again, when she was the one that stop being the best friend or friend to him.  But feeling concern that Jenna is not feeling well (because she keeps telling him that she’s 13), he tries to help her out and walks her to her apartment.

By looking at old yearbooks, Jenna realizes that everything she dreamed of came true.  She became popular, she became homecoming queen and even usurped Tom Tom as the leader of the pack.

But you start to learn overtime that Jenna has grown up to be a not so good person.  Not only did the popularity back in high school make her stuck up, she dumped her friendship with Matt, she also avoids her parents, has an affair with a co-worker and she has enemies in the industry. Now, Jenna wants to make things right with her life and first, she wants to make things right with her best friend Matt.

“13 going on 30” is a story about a girl who is 13 but becomes 30 and she realizes how much she changed for the worst as a person but because she is now living 30-year-old Jenna’s life, because of her perspective of a 13-year-old, she brings some crazy but fresh ideas to “Poise” Magazine but most of all, she knows that she can’t live life right without her best friend. But she’s in for the shock when she finds out that Matt is getting married in two weeks and moving out of New York.

A film that has that 80’s touch, you get a dose of 80’s music from the Go-Go’s, Madonna, Billy Joel, Pat Benatar, Michael Jackson but also some modern music by Liz Phair and a few others. In fact, some of the memorable scenes of the film are related to music as one scene featured Jenna, Matt and many others doing the Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance choreography and another with Jenna and young 13-year-olds getting crazy with Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield”.   Then you have a modern song such as Liz Phair’s “Why Can’t I?” featuring Jenna and Matt working together and music really does play a major part in this film.

But what makes “13 going on 30” work is Jennifer Garner’s portrayal of the teenager Jenna, living in a 30-year-old version of herself.  Garner does a great job which was to portray a character that was awkward, quirky and fun.  But also equally charming was  Mike Ruffalo as Jenna’s best friend Matt.  To play a character who was jilted in high school but now reacquainted with the girl he had always admired and liked but now here she is…back in his life once again.

Also, the locations where the film was shot really gives you the beauty of New York, from the city’s skylines to central park or under the Brooklyn Bridge.  This film is absolutely breathtaking and you get a well-written storyline and everything just simply comes together for this film.


“13 going on 30” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1).  Video quality is clean and the film looks very good.  But picture quality is not super colorful  in terms of eye popping visuals but overall, this film looks even greater on Blu-ray.   Personally, I think this is the test transfer we will probably see of this film for years to come.   Also, with so much outdoor shots featuring both Garner and Ruffalo with their characters in different parts of New York City, Blu-ray definitely enhances the city compared to the DVD version.

As for the audio, audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD for English, French and Portuguese and 5.1 Dolby Digital for the other language tracks.   The film is primarily dialogue and I don’t recall hearing any uses of the rear channels for any outdoor ambiance for audio.  The music definitely comes out clear and pronounced and livens up the room.


“13 going on 30” is literally packed with special features.  Many of these were featured on the “Fun & Flirty Version” DVD but one featurette is exclusive to Blu-ray:

  • Director’s Commentary – This commentary features Director Gary Winick.  Winick is one of those director’s that you would love to hear his commentary because he expresses his true emotion of his feelings of the film, which parts of the film he would love to have reshot and really, getting good insight on the film.  Especially the “Thriller” dance scene to the final ending.
  • Producers Commentary – This commentary features Susan Arnold, Donna Arkoff Roth and Gina Matthews.  Each of these three women giving their tidbits of the film, working with Director Gary Winick and working with the talent.
  • Alternate Beginning and Alternate Ending – This was surprising because the characters that played Jenna and Matt were different actors and I am so glad this beginning and ending was not used in the final cut of the film.
  • Deleted Scenes – A total of 18 deleted scenes featured.
  • Blooper Reel – This is a fun blooper reel of the whole cast.
  • The Making of a Teen Dream – This was the original featurette featured on the DVD versions.  This was all about the making of the film and interviews with the director, producers and cast.
  • Making of a Teen Dream: Another Take – This is exclusive to the Blu-ray and features more content such as Jennifer Garner actually having to do a slumber party with the 13-year-olds  as part of her research for her character.
  • I Was a Teenage Geek Featurette – This interview features the main actors and actresses of the film talking about their high school life with high school photos and all.
  • 1980s “Fashion Flashback” Featurette – This is more or less a fashion flashback photoshoot and dressing up people with 80’s fashion.
  • Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” Music Video
  • Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” Music Video
  • Video Gallery – A photo montage from scenes in the film
  • The disc is also BD Live Enabled.

    “13 going on 30” is just  a fun romantic comedy that I have enjoyed countless times.  Not because I’m a child of the 80’s but I really enjoyed the charming performances by Garner and Ruffalo, the overall story, the music and the awesome shots of New York City.  Everything came together for this film.

    Although considered as a “date film’ or a “Girl’s Night Out” type of film, as a guy who enjoyed the film, you can’t help be touched because of Ruffalo’s portrayal of Matt.  Guys get dumped or rejected by girls.  That close bond you have with a female friend in high school or friends period, not always last through adulthood.  And for Matty, you can literally sense the pain this guy goes through of having the girl he cared for (and eventually hurt him and abandoned him) in high school coming back to his life (especially when he’s about to get married).   So, there are many aspects that a guy can relate to in this film.

    But was this film perfect?  Not really.  For music, by 1987, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield”, the Go-Go’s “Head over Heels” and even Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” were old news and were released way before 1987.   Music by that time was all about Bon Jovi, the Beastie Boys, Prince, The Jets and LL Cool J.  But of course, people who didn’t grow up during that time period probably wouldn’t know that, so I guess it’s not really important.

    If you own the DVD, is it worth owning on Blu-ray?  Of course, the Blu-ray version is featured in 1080p and the audio is featured in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  This is probably the best video and audio quality we will ever see of this film.  But are there considerable difference from the DVD version.  Not really.  You’re only getting one extra special feature on the Blu-ray versus the “Fun & Flirty version” on DVD.  But if you don’t own this film on DVD or if you have only the first version of the DVD, then this Blu-ray release is definitely worth it, especially if you enjoyed the film.

    All in all, I enjoyed this film a lot.   I enjoyed it back in 2004 and continue to enjoy it now even after watching it several times.  “13 going on 30” is a romantic comedy that can be watched and enjoyed for many years to come.  Definitely check it out!

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