“Finally, the whole thing!!”

The Couch Potato Report – August 3rd/7th, 2004
This week in The Couch Potato Report, there’s expectations.
Sometimes its better to have no expectations when you sit down to watch a movie.
Inevitably, if a there is a movie that you are excited to see because you like the premise, the director or the actor, you can’t help but have expectations.
But every now and then the opportunity exists for us to have no expectations when watching a film.
Such was the case for me with the new video and DVD release HIDALGO.
HIDALGO stars Viggo Mortensen from THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY and the legendary Omar Sharif from DR. ZHIVAGO.
It is a film based-on-the-true-story of a horse named Hidalgo and Frank T. Hopkins, a long-distance horse racer.
Hopkins and Hidalgo are invited to participate in a 3,000 mile race across the Arabian deserts, known as the Ocean of Fire.
Before pressing play on the DVD that is what I knew and I had no expectations whatsoever. I knew who was in it and I knew what it was about but I wasn’t expecting anything from it.
Had I any expectations going in, I might have said that this 2-plus hour film is a bit slow, has too many secondary characters and doesn’t come close to showing the power and majesty of the horses running in the race.
Since I had no expectations, I saw HIDALGO as pure old fashioned Hollywood escapism.
There’s no bad language, no sex and no exceptional violence.
Its just a movie you can watch and enjoy, with no expectations.
So you see, sometimes it pays to have no expectations.
Especially when there’s a film that has both a premise and a star that you’re excited about seeing.
That was the case with 13 GOING ON 30.
The talented and lovely Jennifer Garner from the TV show ALIAS stars in this film as a 13 year-old girl who wants to be a member of the very popular in-crowd. She doesn’t want to be big or gown-up, necessarily, she just wants to be popular.
Through movie magic she gets sprayed with wishing dust on her birthday and wakes up 17 years later as someone who is very popular.
Time shifting films like this have endless ways to be interesting and comical. After all, how comfortable would you be waking up in a different era or time, or in a different body.
That premise has been often used in films over the years. Some, like VICE VERSA, LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, VICE VERSA and 18 AGAIN were mildly successful and FREAKY FRIDAY, both the original and the sequel, and Tom Hanks film BIG were very popular.
13 GOING ON 30 falls somewhere between all of those movies. Sadly, it just came across as a film that really, really wanted to be a female version of BIG. They even recycle the hand-raising joke, but they can’t recycle the charm.
No, 13 GOING ON 30 is no BIG, which is what star Jennifer Garner and the filmmakers and the studio who released it have said it is.
What’s worse is the fact that 13 GOING ON 30 is just no fun.
This movie should have been a blast!
As an actress, and what I know of her as a person, Jennifer Garner is perky, fun, and even epervescent.
But 13 GOING ON 30 isn’t any of those things.
It is a standard romantic comedy that has no surprises and is predictable in every way.
Now, before you think I’m being too harsh on a film that is basically a very light, time shifting, body switching, light romantic comedy that no one should ever take seriously, let me admit to one thing.
I may have been disappointed in the film because of my own expectations.
Yes, I thought going in it would be a fun, modern day play on a great movie the premise.
Thus, the fact that it wasn’t what I expected disappointed me.
I didn’t, and don’t hate the movie, but I was disappointed in it, because it wasn’t what I expected.
Well, having admitted that, while I’m sure my high expectations are part of the reason I didn’t care for 13 GOING ON 30, the film itself deserves more than half of the blame.
You might enjoy 13 GOING ON 30 more than I did, as long as you’re NOT expecting it to be a female version of the film BIG.
Just think of 13 GOING ON 30 as a mildly comedic, predictable time shifting film and you won’t be let down.
Either by your expectations or the movie itself.
One thing is for sure, you can expect 13 GOING ON 30 and HIDALGO to both be available now at your favourite local video store.
KILL BILL: VOLUME 2 is the second half of Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill. Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah and David Carradine star.
ALF – SEASON ONE is about the arrogant, furry alien from the planet Melmac who crashed into the Tanner family’s garage. They agreed that he could live with them if he stayed hidden from the rest of planet Earth. They named him Alf, an acronym for “Alien Life Form” and the Tanners constantly had to bail him out of trouble.
ALF is one of my Mom’s favourite television shows and I’ll have more on it and KILL BILL VOLUME 2 in seven days.
For now, that’s this week’s COUCH POTATO REPORT.
Enjoy the movies and I’ll see you back here next week on The Couch!