Though it may be a little clichéd, sometimes sitting down to watch a movie is just a "feel-good" experience. The movie may offer little that is new - in fact it could simply be a very slight reworking of an earlier film - but the characters, or the songs, or the overall aesthetic make one smile. One only need look at the Blu-ray release of 13 Going on 30 for the perfect example of such a film.
Directed by Gary Winick (Bride Wars), the film stars Jennifer Garner as Jenna Rink, a newly minted 30-year-old. Originally a 13-year-old girl, Rink experiences the usual sort of torment common to teenagers, which prompts her to wish she were 30, and, presto, she wakes up the next morning and 17 years have passed. Rink finds herself the editor of a fashion magazine in dire straits.
Over the course of the film, Jenna has to navigate her new world. She learns about the backstabbing community in which she lives, that she hasn't been a very good person over the course of the 17 years she can't remember, and that perhaps, given the chance, she would have done things very differently.
The basic plot of the film is incredibly similar to the Tom Hanks' starrer, Big. The main difference between that movie and 13 Going on 30 is that Jenna wakes up 17 years later in her life (and in the world), not that she is simply one morning older while everything else has remained static (as was the case in Big). It is, to be sure, a minor difference in plot points, and the substitution of a girl as the main character rather than using a boy doesn't lead 13 Going on 30 to explore any new ground.
However, whatever its failings in originality, 13 Going on 30 is an incredibly fun film to watch. Garner is bright, perky, and wholly believable as a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old body. From her facial expression, to her attitude, to the way she carries herself, Garner manages to exude "young teen." In a movie that would otherwise seem like a poor retread of old territory, Garner manages to keep the film fresh and bubbly.