Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
USA, 2004. Revolution Studios, Thirteen Productions. Screenplay by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa. Cinematography by Don Burgess. Produced by Susan Arnold, Gina Matthews, Donna Roth. Music by Theodore Shapiro. Production Design by Garreth Stover. Costume Design by Susie DeSanto. Film Editing by Susan Littenberg.
It’s 1987, and 13 year-old Jenna Rink is desperate to fit in with the cool kids at school. She even goes as far as alienating her geeky best friend Matt at her birthday party in order to impress ‘in-crowd’ ringleader Lucy. When she’s sprinkled with some birthday wishing dust and announces her desire to be a grown-up, she magically wakes up in a strange apartment as a 30 year-old woman (Jennifer Garner) with a famous hockey-player boyfriend (Sam Ball) and a great job as a magazine editor. Trouble is, inside she’s still 13 and has no idea about her life in between these two ages. She finds out that she achieved all the popularity she desired in school and all the success she sought, but is mortified to learn that she also became a heartless monster of a person in the meantime. Finding the now grown up Matt (Mark Ruffalo) and learning what happened between the two of them doesn’t help much either, nor does realizing that co-editor and best friend Lucy (Judy Greer) isn’t the loyal companion she’s cracked up to be.
Although the plot is basically a pale retread of Big and Freaky Friday, the wry script chooses to be a heartwarming tale about the choices we make and how they effect who we become, instead of being a collection of stupid jokes surrounding the gimmicky premise. Garner is the film’s best surprise, giving a fully realized, Peggy Sue Got Married-worthy performance that involves hilariously awkward disorientation and genuinely touching realizations.