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Overall Rating

Awesome: 30.3%
Worth A Look38.64%
Average: 15.15%
Pretty Bad: 7.58%
Total Crap: 8.33%

11 reviews, 66 user ratings

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Girl Next Door, The (2004)
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by EricDSnider

"A raunchy teen sex comedy that is also thoughtful and smart"
4 stars

Where most good films spend their time developing one clearly defined path -- cold woman learns to love, sad man finds happiness, old miser becomes generous, etc. -- "The Girl Next Door" undertakes several such threads. Characters develop and mature in several ways, all building on the central idea of a young protagonist finding his way in the world.

And yet at the same time, the movie is about a porn star who moves in next door to a horny teenage boy.

Such is the paradox that is "The Girl Next Door." Its premise is pure sex-farce, but its themes are more introspective. It has, for all its audacious laughter, a wistful tone about it, defying romantic-comedy conventions to become a genuinely unusual coming-of-age story.

The star is Emile Hirsch, who plays Matthew, a high school senior who is student body president despite being only mildly popular. He looks younger and shorter than his fellow students (thanks to the Hollywood trick of casting 20-somethings in their roles, while Hirsch himself is 18), and feels unconfident around them. He associates primarily with two oversexed dorks named Eli (Chris Marquette) and Klitz (Paul Dano), not because he's as bottom-rung as they are, but because he thinks he is.

Matthew is destined for Georgetown in the fall, but his plans there are not specific. He feels the angst of uncertainty, the sadness of not knowing how he fits into the world. And then he meets Danielle.

Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) is the 20-ish girl who moves in next door to do two weeks' worth of housesitting for her aunt. She is gorgeous, and she is not averse to changing clothes with the blinds open. For reasons Matthew cannot fathom, Danielle likes him. His confidence is boosted, and he begins to hold his own among his peers.

That could be the end of the movie, plot-wise, but we're only 20 minutes into it. Thanks to Eli's extensive knowledge of pornography, Matthew learns that Danielle is a porn star. Since Matthew's primary contact with women has been through porn, we now see his awkward idiocy as his feelings toward her change from affection to lust, leading to another incident of lesson-learning.

There's almost a feminist vibe to the film, in places, as the effect of pornography on women is discussed, and especially as it's made clear that Danielle lacks the self-esteem to try any other profession. Her agent, the predictably but amusingly slimy Kelly (Timothy Olyphant), won't let her out, and soon he and Matthew are butting heads over their contradictory wishes for Danielle's future.

It all leads to The Big Dance, as it often does in teen films, only here a few of the boys have porn stars for dates, and they're grabbing people off the dance floor to sneak off and do some amateur filmmaking. So, you know, it's a little different.

The film is a joy to watch, often very funny, always engaging and consistently unpredictable. I kept thinking I knew where it was going, and then it would surprise me by changing directions. Technically, this jumping from one genre to another, and from one plot trajectory to another, could be considered a liability, a symptom of an unfocused screenplay, but I don't care. It makes the film stand out among its peers. There's nothing wrong with breaking the rules, as long as the result is entertaining.

That said, I do think the film, directed by Luke Greenfield ("The Animal"), suffers from some lapses of logic that do it harm. Matthew's panic over the loss of some school fundraiser money is unlikely, given that the loss was entirely the bank's fault, not his, and the very notion, subsequently raised, of a porn film's plotline being copyrightable is absurd.

It was written by David T. Wagner, Brent Goldberg and Stuart Blumberg, the former two being the scribes responsible for "My Baby's Daddy" and "National Lampoon's Van Wilder." "The Girl Next Door" has elements of those films -- the sexual humor, the randy teens -- but it infuses them with real characters and actual comedy.

Emile Hirsche has a very natural, vulnerable charm to him, and he is completely believable as a confused teenager. Elisha Cuthbert, who plays everyone's favorite dumb girl on TV's "24," demonstrates here that, given something to do, she can do it.

I like these characters, because I like their flaws and foibles. And I like the film's small touches, the throwaway jokes that are sometimes as funny as the big, blatant ones. It's as raucous a comedy as, say, "Eurotrip" or "American Pie," but it has the feel of something better, something truer.

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originally posted: 04/09/04 15:44:38
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User Comments

1/08/16 David Hollingsworth creepily bad 2 stars
7/27/13 Joe Sucked! 2 stars
11/16/09 mr.mike I saw the TV-PG version on FX. 3 stars
6/02/08 ben dover jesus elisha cuthbert is the most fuckable chick on the planet 4 stars
6/01/08 james bollington worst film i have seen in ages. awful dialogue, 2d characters, confusing and absurd plot 1 stars
4/01/07 fools♫gold I just have to rate this to stress how ATROCIOUS it is! 1 stars
3/07/07 Frank Rountree Good movie, it really draws you into it. Great acting! 4 stars
2/22/07 Beau An excellent movie with brilliant cast, deserves a few awards i think, 'cuthbert' is amazin 5 stars
1/03/07 GasAttacK Elisha "Hotter than the Sun" Cuthbert plays a porn star turned girl next door; superb. 5 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 3 stars
11/09/06 Dark Enchantress funny movie, and great boobies! 5 stars
8/05/06 nicklor24 funny and good film, check it out 5 stars
1/18/06 cody A cool teenage boy 's dream movie, with ok story ,cool songs,and what yet of a cast 4 stars
1/08/06 Zaw Damn, I can't believe I waited this long to see this flick!!!!! 5 stars
1/03/06 Wiseman I want a girl friend like her :+( 5 stars
12/15/05 Olan Munji entertaining enough 3 stars
11/24/05 cr a fun movie,ever young man dream , yet i felt a little cheated 3 stars
11/23/05 Sully Risky Business for the 2000's...Cuthbert had me hard all night long..... 4 stars
11/21/05 JN Excellent! This movie was great entertainment 5 stars
11/08/05 sudip bhowmik its a excellent film 5 stars
9/11/05 Nicholas Sheldon Underrated. The writing is top notch and Greenfield gives the film true depth. 5 stars
9/09/05 Ric Funny, smart, sweet, and sexy, it's the perfect teen comedy. 5 stars
6/13/05 Josh Camp Good movie.. I enjoyed it 5 stars
6/03/05 Kaitlyn Pierce sexy 5 stars
4/11/05 tristan Great cast, cool story, inpirational for geeks. 5 stars
3/31/05 christian its hot 5 stars
3/17/05 Naughty Devil Man If Elisha Cuthbert ever asked me to fuck her, I'd die of a coronary. 5 stars
2/21/05 xxplosive This is a very funny movie. 4 stars
2/14/05 WatsUp Good plot but a bit heavy for school kids. 3 stars
1/04/05 posse fuck those who doesn't enjoy this movie, chicks in here are totally awesome, esp. elisha 5 stars
11/21/04 Charlene Javier I'm not a horny teenage boy so I didn't enjoy this. 2 stars
11/05/04 creview Insightful, sharp, and stunningly well told. Far beyond the limits of the genre. 5 stars
11/01/04 Scenic1988 Elisha Cuthbert is the beatiful girl i've ever seen 5 stars
10/28/04 fordefisher Excellent movie with some very touching moments 5 stars
10/14/04 Justin Overall a great movie! Very truthfull 5 stars
9/17/04 y2mckay Well-written teen comedy with a likable cast - and of course Elisha, hotter than the sun. 4 stars
9/12/04 alfred zhou it is a exciting film,i am falled with the story,and saw two times in 24 huors 4 stars
9/06/04 Samuel one of the best comedies i've seen in quite some time... 5 stars
9/05/04 Titus For a teen flick, could be a lot worse. 4 stars
9/04/04 jeff ever wateched popular mecnics for kids?? knew she would be a hottie one grown up. 4 stars
9/04/04 paul hines one of the best films ive seen in a long while the story is so good great film 5 stars
8/27/04 Mike Stanbridge The concept and Cuthbert make this worth the money 4 stars
8/26/04 tatum Not bad, better than "Risky Business" 4 stars
8/26/04 David Frommer EricDSnider proves wiser than Roger Ebert, A.O. Scott with this excellent review. 5 stars
8/14/04 fyrebat this movie was hilarious 5 stars
7/17/04 legend Okay, I was sucked in by the trailers but it wasn't that bad. Funny film. 4 stars
6/30/04 Vinny Spinz THIS MOVIE ROCKED! Plus Elisha Cuthbert is SOOO Sexy, WORD 5 stars
5/28/04 Millie Maelstrom Great moral: A guy's a "faggott" unless he jumps at chance to fuck likely venerial cesspool 1 stars
5/21/04 Mermaid's Pedicurist Again, fartophobic EricDSnider likes many things mightily more obnoxious than farts. 3 stars
5/19/04 Priscilla Postlethwaite What smart guy would fall for girl who forced him to run down street naked? Dumb "comedy". 3 stars
5/03/04 Al Really Funny 5 stars
4/28/04 SIr Spam-a-lot Better thatn I expected 4 stars
4/28/04 Drew Immediately became one of my all time favorites!!! 5 stars
4/23/04 john wallace good comic relief...the shots of cuthbert are awesome....she is beautiful. 3 stars
4/19/04 maumau Emile Hirsche is so hot!! great step from the emperors club 5 stars
4/12/04 eyamxi very nice, loved the ending 5 stars
4/11/04 Wildcarde1 Im not big on comedies but i did have fun 4 stars
4/11/04 K As bad as Cabin Fever 1 stars
4/11/04 Ripoff Didn't I see this same movie when it was called "Risky Business"? Crap... 1 stars
4/11/04 ajay only saw it cause of the bitchslap review, and it was good. soundtrack's amazing. 4 stars
4/11/04 Michael Delightful, intelligent, sweet, and Timothy Olyphant scores another scene-stealing triumph 5 stars
4/07/04 Desperado great movie, funny as hell, and elisha cuthbert is the hottest thing on the planet 5 stars
4/05/04 lucas pornstars 5 stars
4/05/04 Ray Big deal 2 stars
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  09-Apr-2004 (R)
  DVD: 24-Aug-2004



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