13 Going on 30 Movie Poster Image

13 Going on 30

Touching and hilarious Jennifer Garner romcom.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

When 13 Going on 30 opens, 13-year-old Jenna is driven to be popular, and have what she wants at any cost ("I don't want to be original; I want to be cool.") Getting an unexpected look at herself at age 30 shows her that it's far more important to be kind, generous, honest, and true to your own values and talents. And, she begins to understand that by making mistakes, she will learn how to make things right.

Positive role models

Viewers take a journey with Jenna as she goes from being a self-centered, awkward girl willing to do anything to be liked by the "in" group to an independent-thinking, unselfish, and ethical young woman who becomes immune to peer pressure. Parents are supportive, understanding, and loving. The world of magazine publishing is presented as cutthroat, shallow, and materialistic. There's one featured gay player, little ethnic diversity.



The leading lady forcefully pushes a man away from her and follows with a kick to the crotch.


Lots of double-meanings, sexual references, humorous sexual moments. It's all in fun as an innocent 13-year-old is unexpectedly thrust into adult situations. She discovers a naked man in her apartment (no actual nudity; she holds up an umbrella to cover him); squelches a pass from a married colleague; appreciates her new womanly body and sexy clothing; inappropriately flirts with a young tween boy; and ends up in a new acquaintance's apartment thinking the games he wants to play are Monopoly and Battleship. There's some romantic kissing. One featured character is gay.


"Bulls--t," "Holy Christ," "damn," "ass," "bitch," "jump your bones" and some bodily references ("testicles," "balls," "butt" and "thingy" referring to a penis).



Visuals of: Fed Ex, Bloomingdale's, Chanel, "For Dummies" books," Cole Haan, New York City's CBGB Club, shots of Times Square with some businesses identified. Razzles candy plays a role in the story. The games Battleship and Monopoly are mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Numerous scenes depict social drinking. The 13-year-old in a 30-year-old body has her first experiences with adult beverages, gets slightly tipsy. An underage girl talks about buying beer. Marijuana and a couple of illegal drugs are mentioned briefly.


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this gentle romantic comedy will appeal to older kids, tweens, teens (especially girls), and grown-ups, too. There are messages about popularity, values, and being true to yourself, delivered with insight and humor. Because the story places a 13-year-old girl in the body of a 30-year-old, the heroine's reaction to sexual situations is exaggerated and meant to be funny:  "boob" talk, the beginnings of a striptease, a married man making a pass, mistaking sexual games for childhood board games, and finding a naked man in her apartment (no actual nudity). Characters flirt, kiss, wear some revealing clothes, and use mild profanity and sexual language ("jump your bones," "thingy" (referring to a man's unseen penis), "Are you gay?" "bitch," "hell"). There's some drinking (the lead enjoys that part of being a grown-up); marijuana and some mind-altering drugs are mentioned.

What's the story?

A girl who suffers total humiliation at her 13th birthday party wishes she could be 30. The next morning, she's all grown up, living in a swanky Manhattan apartment with a gorgeous face and figure (played by Jennifer Garner). That part is pretty exciting. But the guy in the shower who seems to know her pretty well is pretty scary. And she can't find her parents. Jenna races out of the building and a woman who seems to know her tells her to get into a limo and is talking a mile a minute about some job she seems to have as editor of Poise magazine. Jenna will eventually realize that this is what she wished for, but she will also figure out that it was not really what she wanted. She tracks down her very best friend, Matt (Mark Ruffalo), now a photographer. When he tells her he hasn't seen her since high school, she begins to understand that in order to become what she wished for, she has lost some of the things that mattered most.



Is it any good?


The script has some bright moments and nicely understated humor, despite all the expected collisions between the lives of the 13- and 30-year-olds being present here. Jenna raises her hand to be called on in a meeting, for instance, and responds "Ew, gross!" to the advances of her boyfriend. Ruffalo, as always, adds class and sweetness to the boyfriend role, and has impressive delicacy in providing romantic interest for someone who is, after all, emotionally just 13 years old. But what makes 13 Going on 30 work is Garner, who is enormously touching and hilarious as the 13-year-old living in the body and life of a 30-year-old. Playing a child in an adult body gives her license to show every emotion without any pretense of sophistication. She is wonderfully open and vulnerable but she handles it lightly and with a lot of charm. And she captures it all perfectly, from her panic at not understanding what is going on to her rapture as she selects clothes and makeup for her grown-up self as though dressing a Barbie. Garner even gets the walk of a 13-year-old just right, from the shoulders, not the hips. And the look on her face as she does the dance to "Thriller" is so winning you won't just smile with her; you might just start to dance along a little.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how being a grown-up may be different than it appears to a child. What was the biggest surprise for Jenna?

  • Can you think of some other movies that use switching bodies as a plot device?

  • Families might also want to talk about the way middle-schoolers treat one another and how to make sure that you don't grow up with the kind of regrets that Jenna does. Is/was there a "6 Chicks"-type group in your school?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 23, 2004
DVD/Streaming release date:August 3, 2004
Cast:Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Mark Ruffalo
Director:Gary Winick
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexual content and brief drug references

This review of 13 Going on 30 was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old August 8, 2011


Oh how much I love this movie! All though there is some talk between teenagers about going to second base, one mild sexual scene were a man gets undressed in front of his girlfriend (he only gets to his underwear), and Jenna gets a little tipsy at a party, it has terrific messages! PERFECT slumber party movie!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old December 29, 2009

do not show to kids who are sensitive to innapropriate things

I thought that this movie was very enjoyable ,but had parts that would be disturbing to children 12 and under. Examples: a young girl says that her brother can get her and her 13 year old friends beer, Jenna's boyfriend says that they can play "games" but he endds up dancing around in his whitey tidys, and garner kisses two men who are married (well, one has a fiance). i find this movie to be Quite disturbing to children 12 and younger.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written bymovielover17 July 12, 2010

Amazing movie!!!

I love this movie I saw it like 10 times and I love to watch it every time I feel like it. I think if you want to watch it just enjoy it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models