Re-Watch: 13 Going on 30 (2004)

13 Going on 30
Director: Gary Winick
Writer: Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis, Kathy Baker, Phil Reeves, Sam Ball, Marcia DeBonis, Christa B. Allen, Sean Marquette, Mary Pat Gleason
Seen on: 4.5.2021

Plot:
After being humiliated at her own 13th birthday party, Jenna (Christa B. Allen) wishes that she was 30 years already – and it seems that the birthday present she got from her best friend Mattie (Sean Marquette) grants her her wish. For the very next day, she wakes up an adult (Jennifer Garner), in a fancy apartment and working the job of her dreams as an editor at Poise magazine. It’s not easy to get her bearings in her new life, though. Jenna looks for Mattie to help her, but adult Matt (Mark Ruffalo) informs her that they haven’t been friends for a while. And when Jenna realizes more and more that her adult self isn’t a nice person, she decides to make a change.

I must have seen 13 Going on 30 when / shortly after it came out and I had very fond memories of it. Re-Watching it now, those fond memories were proven right: it is a cute, fun film and exactly the kind of thing I want to see when I am watching a RomCom.

The film poster showing Jenna (Jennifer Garner) wearing a nightgown and a jacket as she walks with the skyline of New York behind her.
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Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018)

Sierra Burgess Is a Loser
Director: Ian Samuels
Writer: Lindsey Beer
Cast: Shannon Purser, Kristine Froseth, RJ Cyler, Noah Centineo, Loretta Devine, Lea Thompson, Alan Ruck, Mary Pat Gleason
Seen on: 9.2.2020

Content Note: ableism, transmisia, sexualized violence

Plot:
Sierra (Shannon Purser) is far from a popular girl. Not like Veronica (Kristine Froseth) who hates Sierra and has boys flocking to her. Boys like Jamey (Noah Centineo) who gets up his courage to ask for her number. But Veronica isn’t interested in someone she sees as a loser – and instead gives Jamey Sierra’s phone number. Jamey and Sierra start texting and get along great, but Sierra doesn’t dare tell Jamey who she really is – and isn’t. But Veronica, too, has boy trouble: she really wants to impress the college guy she dates with her knowledge – and for that, she needs Sierra’s help.

When Sierra Burgess came out, I remember there being a lot of criticism of it, but that memory had – unfortunately – faded to a point where I thought, I’d give the film a chance. I shouldn’t have. The criticism was right, this film is a very hot mess.

The film poster showing the four main characters of the film.

[SPOILERS]

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A Cinderella Story (2004)

A Cinderella Story
Director: Mark Rosman
Writer: Leigh Dunlap
Cast: Hilary Duff, Jennifer Coolidge, Chad Michael Murray, Dan Byrd, Regina King, Julie Gonzalo, Lin Shaye, Madeline Zima, Andrea Avery Ray, Mary Pat Gleason, Paul Rodriguez
Seen on: 4.1.2020

Plot:
Sam (Hilary Duff) divides her time between school and the diner that her stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge) inherited from her father. Her stepmother is rarely there herself, which is just as well, as all she sees in Sam is cheap labor. Fortunately, there’s Sam’s best friend Carter (Dan Byrd) and Nomad, a guy she met online and with whom she has kept up a regular correspondence. He goes to her school as well – and he really wants to meet her. So she suggests that they meet at the school’s Halloween dance. There she learns that Nomad is Austin (Chad Michael Murray), the school’s most popular guy. He, on the other hand, doesn’t learn who Sam is – but she loses her phone and he finds it and tries to find her through it.

Look, a fairy tale retold as a teenage RomCom will very rarely win points for originality, and if a plot that surprises you is what you’re looking for, you should skip this A Cinderella Story widely. But I thought it was a pretty sweet take on a familiar story with some nice touches in the way it modernized the story.

The film poster showing Sam (Hilary Duff) riding piggyback on Austin (Chad Michael Murray).
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