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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 Mel Valentin

"Compromised by its prurient, ambivalent approach."
3 stars

Borrowing plot elements and character types from "Risky Business" and "Something Wild," "The Girl Next Door" is a sporadically amusing teen sex comedy hampered by a contradictory, ambivalent, not to mention prurient, approach to its female characters, specifically Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert, TV's "24"), and porn, which, if the subtext is read correctly, is best indulged in privately. Porn stars may be perfect fodder for sexual fantasies, but, simply put, problematic in the "real" world, where their sexual promiscuity and exhibitionism is frowned upon. In short, "The Girl Next Door" wants to have it several ways (pun definitely not intended), to laugh at its horndog characters and their unhealthy fixation with porn (and, of course, self-love), forcing us to secret admit our own occasional porn use, and eventually, agree with its pro-monogamy, status quo stance at the end of the film.

From start to finish, The Girl Next Door plays out as a decidedly adolescent male fantasy: the newly arrived girl next door is beautiful, sexually adventurous, and, of course, interested in the bland, nebbishy, sexually inexperienced protagonist, Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch). Like Melanie Griffith's reckless, self-indulgent character in Something Wild, Danielle is a catalyst for change in Matthew's uninteresting life. As the audience stand-in, we're expected to identify and sympathize with Matthew's problems (i.e., school, college, family life, etc.). Danielle's entry into Matthew's life is meant to shake things up, taking him on a wild (well, not really) ride of personal growth and self-discovery. It's not long before the fairy tale romance takes a different turn, as Danielle's secret is discovered by one of Matthew's best friends and resident horndog/budding porn entrepreneur, Eli (played with the over-the-top enthusiasm by Chris Marquette).

Where The Girl Next Door falters, however, is in a major tonal shift in the second act, The Girl Next Door introduces a dark, charismatic villain, Timothy Olyphant as Danielle's former producer and ex-lover, who seems to be modeled on Ray Liotta's career making performance in Something Wild. In both films the introduction of the antagonist alters the tone of the film. The light comedy disappears, and the threat of violence continues to hang over the lead character's fantasy world (despite an obvious attempt to shift The Girl Next Door back into teenage sex comedy with a farcical third-act, complete with an amateur porn production filmed at the same time and location as the senior prom). Something Wild, however, went all out, dispensing with the verbal and physical comedy and replacing it with gritty, urban thriller conventions, forcing the main character into a violent, bloody mano-a-mano with the villain at the end of the film. The Girl Next Door pulls back from that extreme, instead displacing the conflict between the two characters into "possession" of Danielle (since she can't make decisions for herself, apparently), money, and social standing.

Attempting to give the tired teen sex comedy sub-genre a tpoical makeover, director Luke Greenfield and his phalanx of writers wanted to take advantage of the mainstreaming/saturation of porn and porn stars. With video, DVD, cable, and pay-per-view, porn is nothing if not ubiquitous in American culture, much to the displeasure of those on the right wing of the political spectrum. The Girl Next Door seems to present a contradictory position: it's acceptable to enjoy porn, but those who participate in front of the cameras are subject to, at best, curiosity, and at worst, scorn or contempt. Ultimately, The Girl Next Door takes a questionably moralistic turn, with Danielle, an ex-porn star, "saved" by Matthew's from her ill-chosen profession (he offers her a better [read: monogamous] lifestyle).

Why give "The Girl Next Door" a marginally positive rating then? Elisha Cuthbert is, without a doubt, an attractive, easy-on-the-eyes starlet, and director Luke Greenfield makes sure to linger on her face and, of course, her scantily clad body. The screenplay, such as it is, doesn't allow Cuthbert to do much, performance wise. Add in liberal doses of crude humor (some truly inspired, to be fair), plus second- and third-act plot complications right out of Robert McKee's screenwriting tome, and the end result is a muddled, flawed, but occasionally, enjoyable flick. Perhaps Elisha Cuthbert’s next role will be more challenging will play the lead, and not just the (fantasy) love interest.

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originally posted: 09/05/05 08:14:50
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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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