ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Nishan Fuard

Girl Next Door, The

14th August 2004
The Girl Next Door Poster reviewer: Nishan Fuard
rating: 1 out of 5
directed by: Luke Greenfield
written by: David Wagner and Brent Goldberg
starring: Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, James Remar
genre: Comedy Romance
released: 16th April 2004

What are the chances, eh? Your new next-door neighbour just happens to be a gorgeous blonde with more than a friendly smile. She likes you and there’s no boyfriend in sight. And get this – she’s a porn star! Get in there! Then the alarm clock goes off and drills some sense into you. It’s time to embrace reality and get ready for another day’s work.

Sadly, this titillating yet entirely fantastical scenario is a day’s work for Hollywood. Actually, I’d be surprised if it took eight minutes let alone eight hours to hammer out the pitch. What we have here is yet another romantic comedy, but this time the bait is rising star Elisha Cuthbert, who gets to show off her talent. Don’t get too excited though – The Girl Next Door is more snore than phwoar. In fact, and in keeping with all this innuendo, it’s rather limp.

Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) is a model student whose achievements are likely to win him a prestigious scholarship. He’s not your atypical high school geek, but he is a nobody – ignored by the jocks and the girls. With graduation approaching Matt fears his yearbook, unlike everyone else’s, will be a dull read. The trouble is that he only goes wild and crazy in his daydreams.

Yet Matt isn’t daydreaming when he sees a shapely girl undressing next-door. Of course, he gets caught. But instead of being offended (or even calling the police) by his clumsy spying, Danielle (Cuthbert), wants to party. With Matt.

It’s a dream come true – Danielle likes him and he’s in love with her. So what does Matt do when one of his porn-obsessed friends discovers Danielle’s secret? As you might expect from a horny teenager, he blows it – big time.

For a film with a plot that could be written on an unrolled condom, The Girl Next Door really does drag. To extend the ‘boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy wins girl back’ (there’s a bit of the ‘tart with a heart’ shtick in there as well) formula it employs delaying tactics (much like a porn film, I suppose) that postpone the inevitable happy ending. So you have something to listen to while you wait the film’s soundtrack features 37 songs. That’s a burst of music every two and a half minutes or so – it’s more a music video mix than a film.

Despite one or two bright scenes and a nice comic performance from Timothy Olyphant (Scream 2) as an out of luck porn producer I found The Girl Next Door to be short on laughs. There are numerous lame sex gags (even worse than mine), but if you’re expecting American Pie-style antics then you will be disappointed.

Perhaps the biggest problem is the film’s main draw: Elisha Cuthbert. If you don’t have fantasies (sordid or otherwise) about her then there’s almost no reason at all to see The Girl Next Door. Go watch 24 or a porno or anything else, but avoid this film.