13 Going on 30

A Film by Gary Winick

Obviously, this is the female counterpart to 1988's Big and it makes you wonder about our society. In Big, we see a thirteen year old boy become thirty and in the process, he has sex for the first time with a thirty year old woman and no one seems to find that odd or in poor taste. Here, we have a thirteen year old girl trapped in a thirty year old body and and it is made clear that no sex is happening. A strange little double standard is applied here. What is alright for boys is certainly not alright for girls. Which brings us to Winick's last film, Tadpole, about a sixteen year old boy seduced by a forty year old woman. This is a theme that has played in many films (most notebly in The Gradute) and it always has some sort of lusty cosmopolitan air about it - but reverse the scenario and have a sixteen year old girl seduced by a forty year old man and what you have is something that is looked at in disgust and/or hatred. This younger girl-older man motif is no more or less moral/immoral than a young boy and older woman, but is still frowned upon much more so (rightly or wrongly).

And maybe you're asking why I'm going into all this pseudo-psych babble instead of reviewing the film on its own artistic merits and the reason is I can't find anything else to talk about. Absolutely nothing. This film, for all it's psycho-babble potential (what could Kubrick or Lynch have done with this!?) ends up being nothing more than a sad rip-off of Big - which wasn't really a great film either, but at least entertaining. The acting is adequate (Jennifer Garner doesn't have the comedic range Tom Hanks did in this film's spiritual daddy) and the directing is less-than-adequate (not up to the snuff of Tadpole's Salingeresque feel). The script is made up of the usual Hollywood mediocrity (you just know everything is going to work out in the end, blah blah blah). What's missing is any touch of creativity or artistic flair. 13 Going on 30 ends up as just another run-of-the-mill Hollywood money-maker shaking it's tight ass for all the world to see. [04/25/04]