While Jennifer may have seemed like the obvious choice to speak about her former costar, it was actually Laura Dern who was originally meant to do the honors. However, she unfortunately had to drop out at the last minute because of illness — leaving Jennifer to save the day.
As I’m sure you know, Jen and Mark were costars in the beloved 2004 rom-com 13 Going on 30, which follows the story of a schoolgirl named Jenna who wakes up in her 30-year-old body after making an unusual birthday wish.
Jennifer plays the 30-year-old version of Jenna, who — now a top New York City magazine editor — goes in search of her childhood friend Matty, played by Mark, who’s a struggling photographer. And as the pair navigate their bizarre reality, they start to fall in love.
So in her speech for Mark 20 years after the release of the iconic film, Jen got straight to the point.
“Why wasn’t I asked to do this in the first place? I kicked off the Mark Ruffalo rom-com era,” she said, referring to the fact that the success of 13 Going on 30 prompted him to land roles in other rom-coms, like Rumor Has It with Jennifer Aniston and Just Like Heaven with Reese Witherspoon.
Paying homage to Mark’s rom-com legacy, Jen proceeded to list a number of his other onscreen love interests and wondered about their own experiences working alongside the actor.
“I wonder if my colleagues Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth [Paltrow], Keira Knightley — I wonder if they would agree that Mark owes this rom-com success to the scruffy hair, the untucked, cute button-down, both of which became the norm for cute guys everywhere for the next 20 years,” she asked.
She also took the opportunity to poke fun at Mark’s anxious nature, revealing that his nerves nearly led him to drop out of 13 Going on 30 at the last minute.
“I wonder if these esteemed ladies enjoyed Mark's anxiety as much as I did?” she joked. “I wonder if he tried to drop out of their films like he did out of ours after the first rehearsal of the ‘Thriller’ dance, where Mark went from kind of shocked that we actually had to do this to antsy to deathly quiet to ‘Bro, this is not for me.’”
Jennifer is obviously referring to the iconic scene in 13 Going on 30 where Matty reluctantly helps Jenna liven up her party by joining her on the dance floor to perform the moves seen in the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
And funnily enough, this isn’t the first time that Jennifer has outed her costar over the dance number. In March 2021, she recalled the rehearsal process and revealed that Mark nearly quit right on the spot.
“We started to learn the dance. Our first rehearsal — I think it was Mark and Judy [Greer] and me — and Judy and I were both dancers growing up, and poor Mark didn't know that,” she remembered. “And he came in and he hated the rehearsal process so much, he almost dropped out.”