13 Going on 30

Jenna Rink Jennifer Garner
Matt Flamhaff Mark Ruffalo
Lucy Judy Greer
Young Jenna Rink Christa B. Allen
Richard Andy Serkis
Beverly Rink Kathy Baker
Wayne Rink Phil Reeves
Young Christopher Grandy Alex Black
Young Tom-Tom Alexandra Kyle
Mr. Flamhaff Joe Grifasi
Mrs. Flamhaff Mary Pat Gleason
Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and brief drug references.

Central Theme
If most people had a “do over,” a chance to change one decision in life, they would change a key decision that would change the entire course of their life. The moral? Live life in such a way that you don’t need a “do over,” and of you get one, use it to choose the better path.

It is 1987 and Jenna is a 13-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood. The problem is that adulthood is just not arriving fast enough. She’s suffocated by her dorky parents, ignored by the hip kids in school–and the cute guy she has a crush on barely knows her name. No longer content to spend time only with her best friend and neighbor, Matt Flamhaff, Jenna invites the cool kids to her 13th birthday party. But the party is a disaster. Jenna is humiliated when she’s locked in the closet for a game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven” and everyone deserts her. Alone in the closet, Jenna makes an earnest wish. If only she could be all grown up, she’d have the life she’s always wanted. Miraculously, her wish comes true. The next day, when Jenna emerges from the closet, it’s 2004 and she’s 30 years old. What’s more, she is a gorgeous successful woman with a great job and a fabulous Fifth Avenue apartment. She is finally cool and popular. The only hitch? She has absolutely no idea how she got there. Initially frightened but gradually enchanted by her new life, Jenna soon realizes there’s something missing–Matt. When she looks him up, she is horrified to discover that she and Matt are no longer in contact and, furthermore, he is engaged to be married. Jenna learns that ‘having it all’ is not enough and decides to take a second chance at first love. Now her biggest wish is that it’s not too late. ‚© Columbia

Virtually every critic will comment on the dreadful formulaic script and plot development reminiscent of Tom Hanks’ “Big,” offset by equally engaging performances from Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo. What is truly worth noting is that this film is made in 2004 and shows a young woman sensibly rejecting the hip mores of her peers AND choosing the good and life-affirming over the cynical and “whatever” zeitgeist of the early 21st century.

Look folks, Casablanca this ain’t, but given the context of racier fare young kids are accustomed to, this is seismic in its “say yes to simpler,” more decent times. AND the moral of the story leaves kids pondering the choices they are making now and desiring to make better ones.

The film is PG 13 and some will ask why. The film depicts bad choices (sleeping with your boyfriend who dances goofily in his underwear, having an affair with a co-worker’s husband) to show the contrast with the good. This will leave some kids and conservative parents squeamish, but it also provides a chance to talk with our kids about how film sometimes shows bad choices without endorsing them.

Art handles evil in at least four ways: One, avoided completely, which leaves conservative productions seeming Pollyannaish and Disneyworld-ish; Second) Evil depicted, it is shown but for a purpose; Third) Evil endorsed or used gratuitously; Fourth) evil enacted to incite to action¢â‚¬¦like pornography.

This film depicts evil, but not only does not endorse it, but uses it to show the better path of good behavior.

Beliefs num
–The choices you make in your teens can affect the entire direction of your life.
–It is tempting to choose the popular path as a teen, but you may leave good and decent friends, for ones less loyal and unworthy of your allegiance.
–Be careful: your peers may influence you more than you change them.
–Try to live life without regrets.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme, values or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us about whom God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–What are some key words or themes that relate to your faith?
–Relevant insight from the artist’s background?
–Questions you think would provoke discussion?

Provocative Quotes byline
–He says it wasn’t hard to get in touch with his inner 13-year-old. “I’m pretty much a goofy guy and Jennifer’s kind of a goofy girl. She’s pretty fun and easygoing. So it wasn’t too hard to play off that energy. She does it so well so it’s pretty easy to do.
==Mark Ruffalo coming soon ,net.

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  • Posted in Movies, Staublog in May 1, 2004 by | No Comments »

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