'13 Going On 30' Isn't The Cute Rom-Com It's Made Out To Be — It's Actually Kind Of Creepy

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Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo

Beloved actors Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo caused quite a stir on social media on Feb. 23 after Garner — who starred in the classic 2004 rom-com, 13 Going on 30, alongside Ruffalo — posted a picture of them together on Instagram.

“Wishing dust worked! And I got a perfect day with my old pal,” the 48-year-old former Alias actress captioned the photo, which garnered over a million likes in less than 24 hours. 

“OMG, Jena [sic] and Matt [heart eyes],” one fan wrote, referencing the names of their characters in the movie. 

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Garner and Ruffalo’s mini-reunion picture clearly got fans thinking about the iconic romantic comedy, and on the surface, it may seem like a film about long-lost love and friendship, finding your way back to your roots, and staying true to who you are.

However, I’m here to tell you that that’s not the case at all — the movie is actually kind of creepy. 

In case you’ve forgotten the plot of the movie or haven’t seen it at all, the teen version of Jennifer Garner wishes to be “thirty and flirty and thriving” on her thirteenth birthday.

Thanks to the magical wishing dust her best friend, Mattie, gave her (along with a custom-made doll house), her wish comes true and she finds her 13-year-old self in the body of her 30-year-old self. 

That’s all fine and dandy, I guess, and there have been plenty of other movies with similar plot lines throughout the years — Big, Freaky Friday, etc. — but no matter the movie, any film where a teen is all of a sudden in an adult's body is kind of creepy. 

Let me explain.

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In 13 Going on 30, Jennifer Garner’s character, Jenna, finds herself in situations that are dicey for a full-grown adult to handle, let alone someone who just turned 13 years old.

Literally, two days before she wakes up as her 30-year-old self, she was a preteen, and the voiceover in the trailer for the movie even says, “One woman will discover … she’s truly a kid at heart.”  

Anyway, Jenna’s trying to navigate all of the ebbs and flows of adulthood — a thriving career at a women’s magazine, a relationship with a professional hockey player (who, obviously, is a grown man), a workplace affair (yikes), best friend drama, alcohol and nightlife, and of course, trying to reconnect with her childhood best friend, Mattie.

When Jenna and Mattie finally reconnect (the older version of him simply goes by “Matt” now), she learns that he’s engaged, and although he’s about to be a married man, they continue to reestablish their friendship that dissolved after her fateful thirteenth birthday — and eventually fall for each other.

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At one point, their characters even share a kiss. 

Here’s the iffy part about that plot: both Ruffalo and Garner’s characters are 30 years old, but he’s a 30 year old in a 30 year old’s body. Garner is a 13 year old in a 30 year old’s body, and her character acts like it. 

Not to mention, Ruffalo’s character almost leaves his fiance because he falls in love with the soul and spirit of the 13-year-old Jenna he used to know. Sure, she’s youthful, bubbly, and has a different outlook on life — and is much different than the adult-version everyone knew before the magical switch — but that’s because she’s a teenager. 

She’s not an adult, and when you think about it that way, it’s a bit uncomfortable. 

You can call it overanalyzing what’s supposed to be a cute, fun rom-com for teens and adults alike, but when you really dig into these movies, they’re not as innocent as they’re made out to be.

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Olivia Jakiel is an editor and writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her zingers on Twitter