The Girl Next Door

by Michael Fessenden
Tuesday Aug 24, 2004
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The Girl Next Door is a movie that didn’t get a lot of attention in theaters; it was marketed to look like another American Pie, which is a shame as it’s so much more. In fact, the film bears more than a passing resemblance to Risky Business (complete with Tangerine Dream-esque music).

Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) is a straight-laced high school senior who, with graduation and Georgetown looming, realizes he’s never really done anything fun. He’s envious of his wild and crazy peers who cut class to hit the beach, as he writes a speech to obtain a scholarship for the student with the “most moral fiber.”

Along comes sweet, yet vampy Danielle (Elfish Cuthbert) who is house-sitting next door. Upon catching him watching her change through her bedroom window, she promptly comes over and introduces herself. Surprisingly worldly, she knows exactly what ails Matthew… “What’s the craziest thing you’ve done lately?” she asks. Soon, he discovers that nothing he thought mattered really does as he begins spending more time with Danielle.

This is not your average brainless teenage comedy, however. Matthew soon finds out that his new love is a former porn star looking to turn her life around. Her former life isn’t so easy to shake; midway through the film we meet Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) Danielle’s former producer, looking to get her back into the business. Olyphant, always the capable actor, plays his sleazy porn maven with an affable charm.

The Girl Next Door always manages to stay just ahead of being predictable; the film is funny and warm and even a little endearing. The performances are great, especially Cuthbert’s Danielle and the hysterical turn by Olyphant as her adult film producer. Check out The Girl Next Door, it’s definitely one not to overlook.

The special unrated version of The Girl Next Door features additional scenes not show in the R-rated theatrical cut. It’s got a little more gratuitous nudity and language, with a more complete version of Matthew’s strip club visit. If you’re looking to see Cuthbert getting naked in this version however, you’ll be disappointed. While Danielle likes to show a lot of midriff, she’s otherwise too wholesome to bare all. Also included are deleted and extended scenes, as well as the standard making-of feature.

There is a short where budding director Eli takes us on a tour of a porn convention, but it’s really not all that funny. Chris Marquette’s performance as Matthew’s friend Eli was one of the weaker in the film, so his short, “The Eli Experience” really is a waste of time. Budding director Eli takes us on a trip to an adult film convention, but it’s really not that funny…even by reality TV standards.


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