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The Girl Next Door (2004)
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Review Date: February 24, 2004
Director: Luke Greenfield
Writer: Stuart Blumberg, David Wagner, Brent Goldberg
Producers: Harry Gittes, Marc Sternberg, Charles Gordon
Actors:
Emile Hirsch as Matthew
Elisha Cuthbert as Danielle
Timothy Olyphant as Kelly
Plot:
A smart, virgin-esque high school nerd gets enamored by his next door neighbor, after he sees her undressing across his bedroom window one evening. Falling hard for one another, matters of the heart take a turn for the worse when the boy finds out that his new girlfriend is actually...an ex-porn actress! As they say in the Olympics: "Let the games begin!"
Critique:
Elisha Cuthbert is a gorgeous, gorgeous girl. That said, this film is a throw-back to the 80s teen comedies in which sex was treated like the luscious forbidden fruit to all good-hearted teen nerds with cute smiles, soundtracks were booming with sweet nothings and hip tunes and the lead characters weren't just cardboard cutouts with teen penises looking to land tail, but actual kids with feelings and emotions, which despite not being developed a la MYSTIC RIVER, offered enough to sweeten up the laughs with some character investment. In other words, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR isn't your average teen gross-out comedy with tits, ass, sex, beer and drugs (although it's got a bit of each of those in there as well), but a sweeter, kinder and more importantly, more original movie that dares to take time to develop its two lead characters with real moments, while at the same time, dropping plenty of humor into its raunchy bucket in order to keep the laughs chugging along all the way to the end. And before I go overboard and make this film sound like a drama, it's to note that I laughed out loud during several scenes here, a number of which stuck a chord with yours truly (see a picture of me and real-life porn queen Gauge in Vegas here) Mucho props go out to actor Timothy Olyphant, in particular, since his appearance in the film correlated directly with even greater laughs thanks to his quick delivery, cool attitude and nasty demeanor.

I could have done without the abrupt scenes of violence which made their way into the film, would have preferred a more believable ending, rather than the elongated, over-the-top conclusion that they ended up with here and thought it could have used a better editor, or at the very least, someone to make the pacing feel less scattered at times, but the truth is that much of this film worked because the relationship between the young nerd and the hottie next door neighbor was believable and really quite sweet. Cuthbert, in particular, was divine in her role, which didn't simply require her to look as hot as someone who is hot can look, but also to provide her character with a soul, an inside that wasn't a caricature or stereotypically slutty. She covered her bases nicely in this film and if my memory serves, did so without removing a stitch of clothing for the camera (although the film does display other forms of T&A throughout) Emile Hirsch also played his subdued role very well and was admirably backed by his two geeky buddies, both of whom developed into saps that we cared a little about by the end. Nice friendship angle. Overall, I would definitely recommend this movie to fans of John Hughes' 80s teen comedies, anyone who appreciates a creative twist on a number of chartered territories and anyone who isn't offended by swearing, sexual frivolousness or the deeper recesses of actual teen angst, insecurity and horniness. Needless to say, I could relate on all counts because I'm still a teen...in my jeans! "Show that shit!"
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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11:31AM on 12/30/2005
Finally got around to watching this movie and I wasn't too disappointed. There's nothing new as far as plot is concerned, but there were a few cool and funny moments that made it move along at a decent pace. The acting was decent, the girls were extremely hot (Elisha, will you marry me?), and a decent enough ending that I didn't see coming. Overall, a good way to spend a late morning.
Finally got around to watching this movie and I wasn't too disappointed. There's nothing new as far as plot is concerned, but there were a few cool and funny moments that made it move along at a decent pace. The acting was decent, the girls were extremely hot (Elisha, will you marry me?), and a decent enough ending that I didn't see coming. Overall, a good way to spend a late morning.
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