THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

by Jonny Lieberman on March 7, 2006

Directed by Luke Greenfield

Written by David Wagner & Brent Goldberg

Starring:
- Emile Hirsch as Matthew Kidman
- Elisha Cuthbert as Danielle
- Timothy Olyphant as Kelly
- James Remar as Hugo Posh
- Chris Marquette as Eli
- Paul Dano as Klitz


Jonny is out of his fucking head…

Quite truthfully, The Girl Next Door is the most
absurd, ridiculous and preposterous movie ever made. I’m actually sort
of speechless. OK, I’m bullshitting you. About the speechless part. The
film, however, is just loony. It’s like, uh… I mean… cause like…
Shit! Maybe I am speechless. Seriously, the tagline for the movie is
“Matt never saw her coming… but all his friends had!” OK, let me
break down some facts about the film. That could help. A porn star
(Elisha Cuthbert) moves next to Matt (Emile Hirsch), a high school kid
and they fall in love. Sure, why not? Then her producer/pimp shows up
and of course he wants her back in porn. The producer/pimp (Kelly,
played by Timothy Olyphant of Deadwood fame) throws salt in the game every chance he gets…

Argh! I just can’t do it. This is too silly. Look, Kelly steals
$25,000 that was earmarked for a Cambodian student… This is insane!
OK, so to get the money back, Matt and his two buddies and Danielle
(the porn star) work out a deal with Kelly’s rival, a pornographer
named Hugo Posh (James Remar) to produce a live action porno at the
high school prom… I’m sorry, this is just all so asinine. Alright,
so, then Matt will get the money back and the Cambodian kid can come to
the US and he can go to Georgetown… Jesus. How did this shit happen?
I mean, the “moral” of the story is that porn saves the day. And it
wasn’t exactly a comedy. Sure, The Girl Next Door had funny
bits here and there, but it was really more of a drama. What?!? They
dramatized high school kids shooting a porno in the basement at prom?
Promo/porno. Holy fuck, it’s 3:42 am. What the fuck am I doing?

I guess I just… I have sort of major problem with the film.
I’m just really not sure what the hell it is. It’s like totally phony.
A faker. A lie. OK, here’s what Ebert says (hey man, I’m flailing around here)

The studio should be ashamed of itself for advertising
“The Girl Next Door” as a teenage comedy. It’s a nasty piece of
business, involving a romance between a teenage porn actress and a high
school senior. A good movie could presumably be made from this premise
– a good movie can be made from anything, in the right hands and way
– but this is a dishonest, quease-inducing “comedy” that had me
feeling uneasy and then unclean. Who in the world read this script and
thought it was acceptable?

Now, Ebert is no prude. He wrote a couple of Russ Meyer’s films for
Christ’s sake. So, why would he be so hot and bothered? Stay with me
here cause I’m to try and explain but it’s late and I’m wasted. Let’s
say you decided to throw a bunch of porn stars onto Sesame Street.
But instead of conceptualizing the production as a comedy or some sort
of social statement, you instead play it straight and make it seem like
there is nothing wrong with porn taking place on a kids show. Again,
not that I am against porn in any way, shape or form. Quite the
opposite. I love it, dearly. But, like… I’m really not explaining
this well. The movie wasn’t raunchy enough. How’s that?

On a deep level, there is just something completely disingenuous about The Girl Next Door.
Like, it’s a fucking lie. OK, so here we have a film basically saying
that porn is OK at all times, yet that refuses to show us any actual
porn. Like, the main chick never even takes her top off (and I wish she
would have cause her boobies looked sweet!). Does this make sense? It
would be like a film about cooking and how cooking is the best thing in
the whole world, but it refuses to show you any actual cooking. Yeah,
you see knives and pots and ingredients and everybody burping after a
large meal, but no cooking. What the fuck am I talking about?

This movie was really confused and so am I. Again, taking the
plot from what by all rights is a comedy (and could have been a great
comedy if played right) but then shooting it straight… I just don’t
know. The sweet moments are obviously meant to actually mean something.
Matt is supposed to actually care about and love Danielle and
vice-versa. But, she’s not very nice to him, doesn’t say a whole lot
and just basically stands there looking hot (which is funny, cause if
you watch this movie you’ll notice she’s wearing three pounds of
makeup. I ran into Cuthbert at Ikea one day (don’t ask–ex-girlfriend)
and she’s about 4’10″ and rather plain looking). And like… fuck, I
just honestly don’t know. Funny moments, yeah, but I have such a bad
taste in my mouth. And while it is partially the bourbon, it is not the
bourbon entirely. False advertising. I was scammed. I want sex in my
teen comedies. Not a morality tale about sex-workers with no sex. Make
sense? Good night. Ah fuck, I’m too drunk to make my bed…


Talk Shit about this review in the Ruthless Forum.

About

Jonny was the site’s co-founder and helped carry the place in the early years. There was a falling out with Erich and he left the site for good, but a lot of his reviews live on. He has moved on to a successful career writing about cars. Look him up.

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