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
In a world wrought with unoriginal and humor-lacking teen movies, The Girl Next Door provides a beacon of light. The director's hardest battle was to insure that although 90% of the cast are teenagers, that this movie should not be labeled as a teen comedy.
The first comparison that should be made between your average Hollywood teen offering and this movie is the humor. Some movies (American Pie 1, Road Trip) are genuinely funny , but in a slapstick way. The Girl Next Door provides more intelligent jokes (Eli saying that Matthews's motel advances towards Danielle was a little forthcoming, for instance).
Even after this fact is acknowledged, it is still tempting to accuse The Girl Next Door of being a teen movie, but suddenly the thought springs to mind . "Hang on ; did that movie have a story line?" And the answer is of course "too right it did". The story line revolves around a life changing loss of innocence for: primarily, Matthew and Danielle, and secondarily: Eli and Klits.
Matthew starts the movie in a tether of his scholarship acquirement's, he spends hours studying and speech revising . enter Danielle, in the space of 2 weeks she turns Matthew from a text book geek, into the king of the school (I refer of course to his control over the jocks on prom night.). Danielle, for all her real world experience, is an emotional black hole. Matthew, in the movie breaks threw this, and Danielle "makes love" for the first time.
Eli, the local porn king, thinks he (sexually) knows it all, however, even the slightest sexual conduct, and he turns and runs (i.e. the porn star asking Eli/Klitz to feel his girlfriends breasts). Klitz, like Matthew, is a text book nerd and lacks any confidence in his appearance, what so ever. With the help of April, he breaks through this, gaining a silent reputation for the prominence of his manhood.
So let's compare these major story lines to some admitted teen movies. American Pie 2: The story line (singular) in this story is to go on vacation and get laid. WOW. Not exactly a feast for the thought. Road Trip: This time round the storyline (singular) is that a guy suddenly realizes that his pen pal is a girl and sets of on a several thousand mile trip to profess his undying love .. Rubbish.
One similarity I am happy to point out between this work and the self-proclaimed teen movies, is that it has an excellent sound track. A few examples of the excellent choices in music would be David Gray's This Years Loving. This song perfectly matched the budding affections of Danielle and Matthew, both while they share their first kiss, and when there have sex for the first time. On a smaller scale Lapdance by NERD, perfectly captures the moment when the new and improved Matthew, strolls into the Prom and officially becomes the Godfather of the school. On the topic of the sound track, I could go on for pages, so ill just stop that now.
The best movie to compare this piece to is Risky Business. You've all seen it I'm sure. The academically perfect Tom Cruise's parents do away for the weekend . And Cruise erupts. Going wild for the weekend, he dance around the house, pants-less (easily one of the most famous scenes in movie history) and more importantly (from a story line point of view), meets and falls in love with hooker Lana (Rebecca De Mornay). On comparison I preferred The Girl Next Door. The relationship between Hirsh/Cuthbert is far more convincing then that of Cruise/De Mornay, and more importantly, there was no real foundation for the change in Cruises character, whereas Matthew is forced out of his shell by the life-of-fun character of Danielle.
Unfortunately, Risky Business is unshakable from it pillar as one of the best movies ever. But the Girl Next Door deserves to stand right up there beside is it.
If you haven't seen this movie but have read this . sorry ., but go get the movie anyway, trust me, i didn't talk about, about 90% of the content of this masterpiece. If you have seen it, then I hope you agree with my synopsis.
This movie is worthy of much more recognition then it is currently receiving. And ill bet that the reason is in the first eleven words of this review.
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