Based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name, The Girl Next Door follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt...and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime.
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18-year-old Matthew Kidman is a straight 'A' over-achiever who feels that he has never really lived life to the full. That is, until he meets 'the girl next door'. Danielle moves in next door, and Matthew thinks he's found the girl of his dreams. All is going well, until Matthew's sex-mad friend Eli reveals that Danielle is actually a ex-porn star. Matthew doesn't know how to take the news or how to treat Danielle, and things go from bad to worse when Danielle's former producer Kelly appears to take her back. Written by
marketing is deceiving...one of the sweetest movies in years
The Girl Next Door's tagline "Matt didn't see her coming...but all his friends have!" is very deceiving, because the movie is not like that at all. When you see this, you'll expect a raunchy, borderline porn movie, but what you get is a refreshing, adorable, and sweet love story with great performances from Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert.
Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch, The Emperor's Club, Lords of Dogtown) is not a geek by any means. He's your everyday nice guy who's never really 'lived'. He is the top student, the class president, and he's in charge of bringing a teenage super genius to the U.S.A. Everything is going fantastic, because he even gets accepted to Georgetown. Only problem is, he needs the money to get to the school, and this can only be paid by winning a scholarship. A few days before his speech on why he deserves the scholarship, Matt meets Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert, '24', Weezer's 'Perfect Situation video), a breathtakingly beautiful girl who (after a hilarious few scenes where they meet) he instantly falls for, and she falls for him.
For the first part of the movie, you see Danielle, the near unfairly sexy girl, push Matt to limits he hasn't gone to, such as running in the street naked, swimming in a stranger's pool, and skipping school. They're falling in love, and it's easy to see on screen, and it's adorable.
Just when it can't get any better for Matt, things take a turn for the worse. One of his best friends, Eli (the hilarious Chris Marquette), who is a massive porn addict, goes through his collection, and finds a tape...and who is the star? Danielle. Turns out, Danielle had just quit her job as a porn star and decided to turn over a new leaf. After a near tear-jerking scene, Danielle returns to her old career by contacting her old boss, a gritty and suave porn producer named Kelly (Tim Olyphant). It's at this point that Matt decides that he doesn't care about Danielle's past, and he's in love with her. He decides that he'll do anything to get her back, including taking on Kelly, the porn industry, and some very weird people.
After some events, the plot strays away from just Matt and Danielle, and thickens to become a real movie, not just a teen movie. The movie does an excellent job of keeping us interested, because just as the plot becomes serious, Eli and Matt's other friend, Klitz, add some very funny moments and ideas. Yes, the movie does sound like the classic Risky Business, but it does things that separate itself from that movie. The chemistry between Hirsch and Cuthbert is magical, and despite her gigantic sex appeal, the character of Danielle is so lovable for how sweet and caring she is to Matt. There are some great plot twists that keep you interested, not to mention hilarious in jokes and one liners, and not to mention a classic quote: "The juice was worth the squeeze". You'll understand. Tim Olyphant is great in a somewhat opposing role, and veteran actor James Remar makes a few appearances as a porn producing giant. The movie's ending is so great and funny that you can't help but enjoy, not to mention mysterious, keeping you hanging by a thread the whole way through.
Luke Greenfield has directed a movie that is so well liked and cherished, that I have never heard a bad thing against this film (I'm 17, and all my friends, guys and girls, loved it). I own it on DVD, and have watched it at least 10 times. I've finally gotten around to writing a review, because writing this has reminded me of how great this movie is. In a few one word sentences, The Girl Next Door is...fun. hilarious. sweet. lovable. classic. I recommend this movie to anyone from the ages of 13 to 30, because this is the age group it is intended for.
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