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Sophomore Year Collection
(The Complete Second Season)

. "13 Going on 30"

This fantasy in time travel may seem like a romance for the teenage girl crowd, and that may imply simplistic exploitation, but it's more than either of these. Yes, it's a vehicle for the star track that Jennifer Garner is riding currently and, yes, there's a frothy surface to it, but its creaters knew what they were doing every purposeful step of the way. Their canny sense of character and drama in a framework of wish fulfillment is commercially clever and appealing.

Jenna Rink at 13 (Christa B. Allen) is throwing a party hoping that the Sensational Six, a group of the acknowledged hottest chicks in school that she wants to become or be accepted by will show up and make the event a success. Matt Flamhaff, her nerdly best buddy and neighbor, is first to show up, bearing a couple of gifts. One is a symbolic doll house with Jenna the featured doll. Then, he brings out a packet of magic powder which, when sprinkled over a person, grants the wish they most want. Jenna has already made it known that she wishes she were 30.

We're hardly surprised when it does sprinkle over her and a transformation takes place. She's transported 17 years ahead into adulthood -- but without any memory of the intervening years. She finds herself an editor on her favorite teen zine, Poise. As she discovers more and more of who she's become she's shocked to learn that she's not been a very nice person while climbing to the top. She also learns she's got breasts.

As a full grown woman (shades of "Big"), and a beauty at that, there's no Matt in her life. Hoping to correct an obvious mistake and to fill an emotional need, she tracks him down. The adult Matt (Mark Rufalo) is less nerdy, a professional photographer, and engaged to be married. Despite that, the pair see each other frequently and we understand where her heart is and what the central concern of the movie is.

It's never very believable unless you're a complete sucker for fantasy but, oh my, the feast for the male eye that is Jennifer Garner is enough for a cynic to dwell on. Then, too, there's a magnificent and continual wardrobe display that drapes exceedingly well on her exceptional physical proportions. That this is being played as a vital element in the context is evident by all the full length shots of her, walking here, strutting there, a sustained solo dance in the spotlight elsewhere. The picture is a metaphor for a runway.

Garner has come a long way from the felicitous "Felicity," her TV introduction. Or, maybe not.

In the final analysis, the film is a stretch of the romantic comedy mold producing escapist amusement. It's well-enough made to garner some critical respect.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  

The Soundtrack Album


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Jennifer Garner as grown up Jenna
discovering her shoes!

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