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
~~ Jules Brenner