Girl Next Door, The
Starring:
Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant
Directed By :
Luke Greenfield
Grade
C+

Synopsis: Elisha Cuthbert is the girl next door. Yeah, right. More like every guy's wish for the girl next door. Well, everyday dorky overachiever Matthew (Hirsch) gets his wish when he comes home from his typical day of high school wish unfullfillment to see Danielle (Cuthbert) carrying her stuff into the house next door. The worldly Danielle sees something special in Matthew and decides to make a hobby out of getting him to take advantage of life. In short order, they pursue a relationship, and shortly thereafter, Matthew's porn addicted buddy Eli (played with zeal by Chris Marquette) spots Matthew's new love in one of his favorite videos. This is where the bulk of the story comes in as Matthew has to deal with having his first real girlfriend be a porn star, and the ramifications of that, as well as his efforts to get into Georgetown University.

Evaluation: Say hello to your next Elijah Wood or Tobey Maguire. Emile Hirsch is apparently the new leading man for smaller, almost 'indie' films. I first saw him in a film that I loved, I mean LOVED, called The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. I'd actually recommend renting that over going to the theater for this film. That being said, this is an entertaining movie in its own right. It's a near blatant rip-off, or let's say: reinvention, of Risky Business mixed with American Pie. It works, but ultimately both were better films…and Risky Business has hotter sex scenes. (Some people may have only one interest in this movie, and I'll tell you that while there is a little nudity [some of it male] there is no nudity from the lovely Elisha. If that's what you want to see, sneak into another film after the undressing scene at the window, that's as good as it gets.)

The film's story is pretty predictable and by the numbers, except for the fact that it covers so much. There's a road trip to Vegas, several funny scenes with Danielle's manager (Olyphant), dealing with the popular kids at school, buddy stuff with Matthew's friends, getting into Georgetown, Matthew growing up, etc. The movie covers a broad spectrum. In fact, the relationship with Matthew and Danielle almost takes a backseat to everything else that's going on in the movie. Cuthbert's part is the namesake of the film, but also unfortunately the most two dimensional character in the script as well. Cuthbert works subtle miracles with the dialogue she has, but is outshined by Matthew's friend Eli (who has some of the best lines in the film and knows it) and the wonderfully cast Olyphant, who is probably the most entertaining part of the film.

The directing is pretty entertaining, spicing up a film that could otherwise have descended below mediocrity. Early on, there's a dream sequence, and I kept waiting for future outlandish scenes to turn out to be dreams. Just when I gave up, more dream sequences popped up suddenly! Kept me off guard.

Who Will This Appeal To?: Those who like teen comedies: Road Trip, Van Wilder, American Pie, Old School, Not Another Teen Movie, etc.

Final Verdict: I've got to say that this film comes together well. While being silly and outlandish, it's definitely more than the sum of it's parts, and is an entertaining flick. Just check out the films it draws from first.

Details, details…: Written by the team of Brent Goldberg & David Wagner who possibly hit their high note in comedy with Van Wilder. Oddly enough, Wagner is the voice of Linus in the 1985 special You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

- - Jeff Light

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