On the eve of her 13th birthday, all Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner) wants is to be pretty and popular. After a humiliating experience with the coolest kids in school, Jenna makes a desperate wish for a new life. Miraculously her wish comes true, but with one catch...she's only five days away from her 30th birthday.WTF? ‘Cause being 30 is so horrible, right? I mean, i get that a 12 year old doesn’t particularly wanna be 30, but damn, to have the wisdom, life experience, and self-confidence that one has at that age while getting to skip the messiness of acquiring all that, sounds rather appealing to me. But that’s just me.
Then i read the NYTimes’ "The New Teen Movies: No More Miss Nice Girl" (Stephanie Zacharek). My first thought was “Does anyone who suffered through high school need to suffer through it again in theatres?” I like that in both movies the boy the girl wants is repelled by her new shallowness.
The reviewer says of 13 Going on 30:
But near the end of the movie, something bizarre happens: it starts to betray itself, and the fable about preserving one's own individuality becomes instead a fable about the perils of ambition [...] the movie seems to suggest that high-power careers can't be achieved by moral people. The lesson Jenna finally learns is that in order to be a truly nice, loving person, you have to squelch your ambition and submit to convention [... The movie] has become a basic quest to get the guy, with some pesky ambition-related complications along the way.She continues:
If the ending of "13 Going on 30" is a cop-out, the ending of "Mean Girls" is the opposite: a kind of ridiculously hopeful utopian fantasy, in which Cady, along with every other female character, ends up being smart and popular and tolerant and friendly to every other student. [...] The movie is showing the way life should be, while acknowledging that its vision is so unrealistic it borders on ridiculous.I don’t really have any thoughts of my own about what teen movies should be like/about to include here.
But what ultimately makes "Mean Girls" so original is the way that, even amid all this niceness, it retains its insolence. [...] Watching this movie, teenage girls may pick up on a subtle and complicated idea not usually found in teenage morality tales: being a nice person doesn't require being saccharine or giving up a measure of mischievous wickedness. And girls who see both movies may also come to appreciate another important lesson: not only do teenagers need to be true to themselves; moviemakers do, too.