Writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman expertly deploy Garner's innate humanity as a trump card." In late 2007 and early 2008, Garner played Roxanne to Kevin Kline's Cyrano de Bergerac at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway.In preparation for the role, Garner worked with vocal and movement coaches and took French lessons.She looks as if the wheels in her head are not just turning but falling off and needing to be screwed back on." In 2011, she had a supporting role as a villainous arranged bride in the comedy Arthur, a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, directed by Steve Gordon and co-starring Russell Brand and Helen Mirren.Also in 2012, Garner starred in the satirical comedy Butter, in which she played an overly competitive and socially ambitious woman participating in a local butter sculpturing competition in a small Iowa town.While working on Alias, Garner made a cameo appearance in Catch Me If You Can (2002), followed by giving a praised leading performance in the romantic comedy film 13 Going on 30 (2004).
She played a teenager who finds herself trapped in the body of a 30-year-old.
After a one-year break following the conclusion of Alias, her wedding to Affleck, and the birth of her first child, Garner returned to work in 2007.
Her supporting role in Juno as a woman desperate to adopt a child was described by Kyle Buchanan of New York Magazine as a turning point in her career: "She came into the movie a steely figure, and left it as the mother you'd give your own child to ...
Following a supporting role in Pearl Harbor (2001), Garner gained recognition for her performance as CIA officer Sydney Bristow in the ABC spy-action thriller Alias, which aired from 2001 to 2006.
For her work on the series, she won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations.