The Girl Next Door

The dream of every high school male is to meet a porn star. And with the mainstreaming of pornography over the past few years, it was inevitable that a movie about such a subject would be made. Think of The Girl Next Door as a remake of Risky Business, just not as good in pretty much every single way. This is the typical teenage romantic comedy with some extra doses of sex, yet not enough to bring it to the level of American Pie and its ilk. However, it is not as funny as the latter film. The Girl Next Door is more along the lines of the teenage romantic comedy, with its predictability and shallowness. Morality issues aside, this film is just not that interesting and not that funny. Its stars, Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert has a nice chemistry and are both individually appealing, but that is about all.

Hirsch (The Emperor's Club, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) is Matthew Kidman, frazzled senior, nervous about a speech he needs to nail for a scholarship to Georgetown. Although Hirsch looks good, Matthew is a social outcast. He's Senior Class President, and hangs out with other nerds Klitz (Paul Dano, The Emperor's Club, L.I.E.) and Eli (Chris Marquette, Freddy Vs. Jason, The Tic Code). This all changes when the incredibly hot Danielle (Cuthbert, Love, Actually, Old School) moves in next door. One of his first glimpses of Danielle is through his window, while she undresses in her bedroom. She notices him, comes over, and the two hit it off well. Danielle is the opposite of Matthew, and encourages him to loosen up and have fun. Eli then realizes that she is a porn star, which changes the entire dynamic. Things take a turn for the worse when her manager Kelly (Timothy Olyphant, A Man Apart, Dreamcatcher) arrives.

The conflict in The Girl Next Door is between Kelly and Matthew, for Danielle. To Kelly, Danielle is a piece of meat that he sells off to sleazy producers to make money. Matthew believes that Danielle is better than this, and that she doesn't need to be in porn. It's very noble, and what draws Danielle to Matthew. This tug-of-war escalates until Matthew and company head to Las Vegas to an Adult Video Expo to try to win Danielle back. It sounds a lot more prurient than it actually is, although the film is a walking billboard for Vivid Video and Wicked Pictures, two actual companies. Their stars pop up in unbilled cameos and their logos adorn hats and poster that are conveniently in the background.

The Girl Next Door lapses because of it's script. David Wagner and Brent Goldberg (My Baby's Daddy, Van Wilder) and Stuart Blumberg (Keeping the Faith) write like they wish they were in Matthew's shoes. The script is full of holes and details that make the story fall apart. For somebody who is supposed to be really smart and with it, Matthew does some pretty stupid things, even taking into account the fact that he is in love. Characters do and say things that don't quite fit with the real world, but they do so only because this is a movie and the writers thought it would sound clever or funny. Worst of all, the motivations of the Kelly character make no sense. Why is he so stuck on keeping Danielle? It is just as easy for him to find new talent, especially as the writers and director Luke Greenfield (The Animal, The Right Hook) portray him. The Girl Next Door does have its amusing moments, but they occur too rarely to make a difference.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 49 minutes, Rated R for strong sexual content, language, and some drug/alcohol use.

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