13 Going On 30 Blu-ray review

Simon spends a quiet night in with Jennifer Garner, who in turn is pretending to be Tom Hanks. Meet 13 Going On 30...

There are four things you have to admire about 13 Going On 13, the latest Sony movie to get a Blu-ray release. Number one, and top of the pile, is Jennifer Garner, clearly thoroughly enjoying her first romantic comedy headlining role. She’s a good comedy performer, utterly likeable, and makes you buy the film’s familiar-but-high concept.

Next? Mark Ruffalo. Here’s an underrated actor that doesn’t seem to get the recognition he richly deserves, and playing the male lead in a romantic comedy doesn’t really seem to stretch him. But he’s convincing, equally likeable, and a fine foil for Garner.

Thirdly, Andy Serkis. For those who think Andy Serkis and end up with Gollum, check this movie out. He gets a comedic supporting role here, and again, he makes the most of it. Hollywood casting directors should take note too, because here Serkis makes quite a lot out of not very much.

The fourth reason to admire the movie is the fact that it doesn’t give a monkeys. It damn well knows that it’s a rip off of Big, albeit with a gender switch, and just gets on with trying to entertain you for a couple of hours. And it succeeds, too. Garner takes the Tom Hanks role, with some contrivance or other transferring her from a 13-year-old girl to a 30-year-old magazine editor. We don’t remember Tom Hanks spending half of Big in a nightie, mind you, so 13 Going On 30 is willing to go its own way. And it eventually segues into a romance, and a perfectly amiable one.

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It’s not a perfect film, and nor does it have much that you’ve not seen before. You can predict it, you’re unlikely to be surprised, but it’s glossy and slick, and very easy to watch. And Garner really should have more comedy leading roles on the evidence of it.

And so to the Blu-ray. It’s extras-packed, even if they’re ported over from the earlier special edition. The two commentary tracks, one from director Gary Winick, and the other from producers Donna Roth, Susan Arnold and Gina Matthews, both left me a bit cold, I’m afraid, either falling into the trap of being quite dry, or simply celebrating the film they’re watching with little insight or critique.

The rest of the material is fairly run of the mill, but there’s lots of it. A power puff making of featurette, a fashion flashback, a stills gallery, bloopers, a neat teen geek piece, music videos and trailers are all fine, but resistible.

The transfer is quite good, courtesy primarily of the film’s colourful visuals, and the same applies too where the audio mix is concerned. It’s mainly the music that has the most fun with it, and in presentation terms, a decent all round job has been done.

13 Going On 30’s Blu-ray debut doesn’t offer particularly compelling reasons to upgrade. But it’s a tidy job, and the film itself is, at worst, good fun.

The Film:

3 stars
The Disc:

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3 out of 5