In case you haven't seen it, this movie is about an awkward preteen who is thrown nearly 20 years into the future after her wish to skip adolescence and be "thirty, flirty, and thriving" magically comes true. Yet while we admit to having a soft spot for this movie, we couldn't help but be bothered by a few hard-to-miss issues....
So for Jenna's 13th birthday Matt builds her a pretty amazing customized dream dollhouse...with HIS OWN HANDS. But come on people--we're talking about a 13-year-old boy here!! The only things the 13-year-old boys that I know are good at is popping their pimples and getting questionably frequent boners. Am I crazy? How was Matty's dollhouse that good?
Sure, he's like, cheek-squeezing adorable as all hell, but there's simply no way that pear-shaped floppy haired kid with a wide-eyed girlish smile grew up to be Glamour magazine's two-time consecutive Sexiest Man Alive. If that's how all goobers turned out, I'd have tied down my 7th grade boyfriend years ago.
When Jenna first wakes up in her Jennifer Garner body, she literally doesn't know anything. She thinks her longterm boyfriend is a creepy rando, and doesn't even know she's inside her OWN apartment. Then, she thinks her best friend Lucy is a stranger and doesn't know what her job is. WHAT?? And then the best justification that Lucy can come up with is just that Jenna's just hungover?! Okay... time out--when's the last time you woke up in the morning regretting those last four tequila shots to find that your pounding state of dehydration caused you to forget everything about the last 20 years of your life? After a while, blaming her problems on alcohol is going to look like a problem in itself.Matt at least reacts more appropriately when he freaks out a little at Jenna's alleged craziness. But then they go through their high school yearbook and Matt just stands there while Jenna asks about what she has been doing the past 20 years. Was no one gonna rush Jenna to the doctor for a good ol' CAT scan to figure out what the hell was up?? Or call her parents at least! Does anyone have common sense anymore??
Jenna invites her neighbor Becky and her friends over for a sleepover...read that again...A 30-YEAR-OLD WOMAN. INVITED 13-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN OVER. FOR. A. SLEEPOVER. I know what you're all thinking... But even that aside, mentally yes, Jenna is still their age. But why were Becky's parents all hunky-dory with this idea? Sure, Jenna is sweet and charming and probably still writes in a Lisa Frank notebook, but she's a grown woman spewing all the details of her love life to girls who know nothing about it. Don't get me started on the 13-year-old Justin Bieber type-boy she hit on at that restaurant either.
When Jenna wished to be "thirty, flirty and thriving," she really just gets to inhabit her 30-year-old life with her 13-year-old brain. But then where the hell does her 30-year old consciousness go? Surely it existed up until the moment her teenage mind took over. Were the writers going for a Being John Malkovich situation, where her consciousness is present but just not in control of her body? Were both minds simultaneously existing with like her 30-year-old mind kinda on autopilot?
Jenna definitely has some mature moments, but considering that she's repulsed by the sight of her boyfriend's "thingy" and drinks alcohol as if it were still the forbidden mystery juice that Mom and Dad hide in the locked cupboard, it seems like her 30-year-old consciousness was pretty much eliminated. And if that was the case, what would have happened if Jenna had just stayed 30 without traveling back in time? Would her 30-year-old mind just be relaxing somewhere on the coast in early retirement?? And okay, I know this chick flick wasn't aiming to stir up scientific debate a la the post-Interstellar craze, but if the writers are going to take a crack at time travel, shouldn't there be some explanation?? I NEED ANSWERS!
Remember that scene where Jenna singlehandedly gets everyone at that party to do the Thriller dance as if they were straight outta MJ's backup ensemble? Ya. So obviously you'd have to be an alien from the distant Andromeda Galaxy to not be able to recognize that classic move with the werewolf-claws. But have you ever tried to learn the whole dance? This is not the Cupid Shuffle, people. THRILLER IS HARD. AND THERE ARE A LOT OF STEPS.
Isn't foreplay, or whatever 30-year-olds do, supposed to set the mood? Once Jenna's creepy hockey player boyfriend popped Vanilla Ice into his stereo to shake a little sum'n sum'n, the mood was destroyed instantly. Disregard the fact that Jenna was obviously uncomfortable due to her inexperience -- it doesn't matter how good he thinks he is at getting the juices a'flowin. Come on now...any other 90s hit would have done the trick. Boyz II Men? Maxwell? Anyone?! I don't care if he's a hockey player, that song is nottttttttt the right one for this situation. They would have been better off playing Monopoly or Parcheezi honestly.
When Poise Magazine needs a full-blown makeover, Jenna proposes making the magazine feel more honest and accessible. And okay sure, the general idea of putting "life and fun and laughter and silliness" back into the magazine is moving...but wait a second...WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? What would that entail? What kinds of articles would they write? How would they get models that are just people off the street? Would they continue to recreate the high school years she *wishes* she could remember for every issue that followed? Like, Jenna doesn't actually say anything! And then everyone just claps and immediately gives her the go-ahead?! I mean good for Jenna, but if making a huge career move were as easy as spewing the most vague fluff you can think of, hell, I'd be the President by now!
Ah, the wishing dust! The stuff that made it all happen...But wait a second, why does this stuff exist? And how did Matt even have access to it? Like, first this kid is an artisan carpenter, then he grows up to be Mark Ruffalo sexyman extraordinaire, AND he just happens to have magic wishing stuff? Who is he, Superman's quirky uncle on steroids?
And okay, fine, maybe Matt just thought it was normal everyday glitter confetti that would add a sentimental touch to his dollhouse. BUT THEN IT ACTUALLY WORKS and nobody says anything about it! ...Hello?!? Was no one going to address this?? I mean revealing the power of the wishing dust could have made for a Nobel Prize-worthy scientific discovery! If I were Jenna and I had gone through that insane time traveling experience not just once but twice, the first thing I would do (after seeing a therapist) would be some serious investigating into that sh*t. I mean sure, we all know the '80s were a poppin' time for other types of recreational *~magic wishing powders~* or sniffing powders or whatever (you get the point). But time travel? How was this just ignored for the rest of the movie?
And there you have it. Another tear rolling down my cheek. Sure, we can pick this apart all we want... but damn, that wedding at the end really stirred up some feelings.