Flix Character Spotlight: Lucy in ’13 Going On 30′

If one were to Google “scene-stealing performance,” Judy Greer should appear as the first page of hits. Born and raised in the Detroit area, she’s been working steadily since the late 1990s. She gets the odd dramatic role here and there (The Village, What Women Want) and has worked a fair amount in television (Arrested Development, Archer, and Mad Love, which looks to be headed for cancellation).

But mostly she utilizes her talents to grab your attention in light comedy movies. It’s a definite talent, one that few have to this degree. Perennially cast in the best friend or supporting character role, she takes that type and makes it riveting. She brings a needed acerbity to rom-com fare like 27 Dresses (in which she co-starred with the perennially under-appreciated James Marsden). She has the distinction of being the only watchable thing in The Wedding Planner. She apparently also portrays the best friend in Love and Other Drugs, which I have not yet seen.

However, I’d like to give her props for her work in one of my all-time favorites, 13 Going On 30. Yes, this is a deeply cheesy movie, and the formula of the younger person trapped in an older body has been many times before. But somehow this one is fresh, and I think Greer is part of why. Jennifer Garner captures Jenna’s 13-year-old mannerisms and speech patterns perfectly, but Greer, as her grown-up best frenemy Lucy, is excellent. With line delivery ranging from deadpan (“You’re pregnant”) to sarcastic (“Oh no, not his thingy”) to snappy (“Jenna, if you’re gonna start lying about your age, I’d go with 27”), sometimes within the same scene, she commits cinematic larceny just about every time she appears. She also manages to make shallow, two-faced Lucy funny and very nearly likable until the very end. What could have been more of cardboard cutout becomes a very real person, similar to someone you probably know…especially if you’ve attended high school.

I don’t know if she’ll ever become a household name or carry a big action picture, or if she even wants to. I do know that I am interested to see the three projects Greer has in the can for 2011 and 2012: The Descendants, directed by Alexander Payne, starring George Clooney, due out December 2011; and two in post-production: Jeff Who Lives At Home, with Ed Helms and Jason Segel, and Playing The Field, with Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel.

What do you think of Judy Greer? Do you think she’s leading lady material?

35 thoughts on “Flix Character Spotlight: Lucy in ’13 Going On 30′

  1. Ted S.

    I love Judy Greer, she’s beautiful and most importantly she can act. Too bad that she’s always gotten the supporting role. She guess starred on Three and half men a few years ago and she was great in those episodes. I actually watched that new sitcom Mad Love because of her, but the show is so bad that I had to stop; even she can’t make me watch it regularly. Hopefully some director will give her a chance and cast her as the leading lady in his/her new film.

    1. I ordinarily wouldn’t have had either but i caught it on cable one day & it grew on me 🙂

      never seen Archer but 2 of my faves (Judy Greer & Jessica Walter) are voicing it so i should check it out

  2. I forgot that Greer is gonna be in Playing The Field. I wish she had played Biel’s character instead, she’s definitely far more interesting. Great post, Paula, thanks for this!

      1. I just don’t think she can act and she’s not even that pretty. Greer is more appealing and she’s funny and she CAN act. Go figure!

        1. …i actually found Biel and Cooper had some hot chemistry in The A Team(I think it was Cooper). When Cooper confronted her in the room in the airport, the sexual tension was…intense

          1. Yeah, I suppose so, but that’s hardly ‘acting’ as I can probably generate the same chemistry if I’m trapped in a small room w/ Cooper, ahah 😀

        2. Dave W

          I second you on Beil. Can’t act and just not that appealing to me.

          Judy Greer. Yeah she’s due. When Kitty would do the glasses off, hair up, glasses on, hair down scenes with Gob from Arrested Development I was on the floor. Kitty: “Let’s turn the light out.” Gob:”There’s still light coming from under the door.” ROFL

          I actually prefer Frisky Dingo to Archer. I wanna like it but it’s a little too obvious. Maybe if i hadn’t seen Frisky Dingo first.

  3. Ahaha 13 Going on 30, one of my guilty pleasure. I believe Greer is doing some voice work for the absolutely hilarious TV show “Archer”

  4. As a guy, I have no problems admitting to loving me some “13 Going On 30” and also being a fan of Greer since her “Jawbreaker” days. I’m not sure I’d ever go so far as to call her leading lady material on the big screen, but perhaps she could carry a sitcom on her own. Her moments on “arrested” were some of my favorites in that show.

      1. I hear what you’re saying abt the poster, but I really like these ones and don’t mind the “screaming” poster. the movie is from the producers of 300 anyways, so why not have a couple of posters with similar style? It worked well for 300 and Immortals isn’t getting as much publicity as 300 did this close to release. That’s just my thoughts on it.

        like you, I can’t wait for this movie!

        1. The reason I don’t like the ‘screaming’ one is that it’s asking to be parodied… I mean look at how many of those Leonidas’ screaming photo that have been the butt of jokes everywhere. Ah well, maybe I’m just over-thinking it. Can’t wait to see Henry… it’s funny that both 300 and this one have my favorite Brit in them 😀

  5. Would it be wrong to say that I love this movie? Would I lose all my MAN credit?

    What the heck I do, and Greer is one of those Actors that when she is on we always say ‘what was she in?’ and we have to IMDb her. She is a great supporting actress and needs a lead role of her own that will do her justice.

    Thanks for writing this Paula, very well done


    1. NO Custie! you would gain it with me!

      i think that’s how you know a good character actress…”wow, she’s so familiar, what is her name?”

      i do think she should get at least a try at a lead with a decent director.

      you’re welcome & thank you Custie 🙂

      1. Yes, I echo Paula that I think a man comfortable enough to enjoy a rom com is sexy as you’re secure in your masculinity 😀

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