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13 Going On 30 Print E-mail
Friday, 16 January 2009
ImageI’ve always been a sucker for the romantic comedies.  There is just something about them that draws me in.  While “13 Going On 30” is a bit of a silly “girly” movie, it has a capturing quality.  Jennifer Garner shines, the story is fairly unique, and it all works out in the end.  You can’t ask much more from a romantic comedy.

Jennifer Garner stars as Jenna Rink.  As a 13 year-old girl, as with all teenage girls, Jenna hates the way that she looks, feels and acts.  Jenna’s best friend is the boy next door, Matt (adult version played by Mark Ruffalo).  On her 13th birthday, Jenna is completely embarrassed by the evil leader of the six chicks click.  She takes it out on her friend Matt, locking herself in the basement closet.  She always longed to be like the girls in her favorite magazine, Poise.  She wishes to be “30, flirty and thriving,” and along with the wishing dust that was in the closet, her wish comes true.

Jenna Rink awakens at 30 years old in her own apartment in New York City.  One catch.  She still thinks she’s 13 years old.  The first act of the story deals with her coming to the realization that she is 30 years old now and works as a magazine editor for Poise.  She slowly begins to realize that she has not become a nice person.  She no longer talks to her parents, she cheats on her boyfriend with married men, she blackmails co-workers and she alienated her one and only friend, Matt.  She became the leader of the six chicks and became “best friends” with Tom Tom, or Lucy, the ex-leader of the six chicks.

As a sub-plot to the film, Poise’s competitor, Sparkle, is beating them each month in sales.  Poise is sentenced to re-design.  Each of the editors works on their own re-design of the magazine.  Along the way, Jenna reconnects with Matt, who happens to have a fiancée that he doesn’t really love, but stays with anyway.  Matt had always been a photographer, and so Jenna hires him to shoot some photos for her re-design presentation.  Jenna eventually becomes the person that she thought she would be become, rectifying the wrongs she made.  But alas, there is one wrong that she cannot make right – Matt.  Matt loved her when they were kids, and now Jenna realizes that she loves him.  I won’t spoil the ending in case you haven’t seen it, but it is cute, and such a Hollywood ending. The Blu-ray presents us with an AVC MPEG-4 1080p encode with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The video quality looks good when watched without a critical eye, but minor problems arise when looked at more closely.  The contrast seems to have been boosted in order to provide more saturation to the colors.  That being said, the colors are amazing.  They pop off the screen from the get go.  The greens bleed a little due to the increased contrast.  The increase in contrast also creates spotty blacks.  There are deep blacks and bright highs, but the mid-level areas of brightness suffer a bit.  There is only minor grain present, but no digital noise reduction appears to have been applied, leaving the image nice and sharp.  Details are decent.  Some scenes contain richer textures than others.  Overall, the details are quite good in both the background and foreground.  Fleshtones appear accurate.  Jennifer Garner looks amazing on Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray gives us a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track.  The soundtrack for this film is surprisingly enveloping.  While discrete effects do not pop up in the surround channels, plenty of information is bled into the rears.  The music contains a nice bottom end, but there is not much in the way of LFE signal beyond the pop music of Rick Springfield and Michael Jackson.  The dialogue starts off a bit muddled, but works its way to clean and clear by the time Jenna hits 30 years old.  There is not much in terms of dynamics.  However, there is plenty if air surrounding the audio track.  This is one of the better audio tracks I have heard of late for a romantic comedy film.

All the special features from the standard DVD release of the film are provided here on the Blu-ray.  There is also one feature exclusive to the Blu-ray edition.  First there are two audio commentaries.  The first commentary is with Director Gary Winick.  The second commentary is with Producers Susan Arnold, Gina Matthews and Donna Roth.  The director commentary is interesting because Gary really expresses his true emotions about the film.  The producers’ commentary offers only little tidbits about the film and should be skipped.  Next there are an unbelievable 18 deleted scenes, totaling nearly 28 minutes, for a film that is already nearly 100 minutes.  There is an alternate beginning and ending.  These sequences contain different child actors for Jenna and Matt.  Thank God the crew replaced these actors.  They were terrible.  Some of the storylines were also excluded in this alternate go around.  “I Was a Teenage Geek” contains the awkward high school years of the cast, including Jennifer Garner.  “Fashion Flashback: Into the ‘80s” is a short film covering the fashion of the 1980s.  “Making of a Teen Dream” is the original making-of featurette.  “Making of a Teen Dream: Another Take” is the exclusive feature to the Blu-ray and contains more behind the scenes footage.  There are two music videos: Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield” and Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.”  Lastly there is a blooper reel and photo gallery.  There is also a BD-Live section, which was not active at the time of this review.

“13 Going On 30” is a must-have as far as I am concerned.  The video and audio quality is a nice upgrade over the standard DVD release, and the film is actually fun and inviting.  Pick this one up.

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