A high school slacker who's rejected by every school he applies to opts to create his own institution of higher learning, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, on a rundown piece of property near his hometown.
While visiting his hometown during Christmas, a man comes face-to-face with his old high school crush whom he was best friends with -- a woman whose rejection of him turned him into a ferocious womanizer.
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
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, Luke Greenfield's sexy yet sweet teen angst flick, owes a lot to both the RISKY BUSINESS premise (HS Senior, his goal a prestigious college, has his life turned 'upside-down' by world-wise 'Pro'), and the internal structure of John Hughes' 80's teen 'classics' (geeky hero, and his two geekier friends, gain acceptance and prestige through his relationship with a 'dream girl').
Close your eyes, and you could easily picture the young Anthony Michael Hall or John Cusack filling Emile Hirsch's role, with Rebecca De Mornay or Kelly Preston replacing Elisha Cuthbert as his ex-porn star girlfriend. THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, however, actually works quite well, thanks to Greenfield's 'tongue-in-cheek' approach to the naughtiness, and a flawless supporting cast, particularly Timothy Olyphant as a likable but ultimately ruthless porn producer, and Timothy Bottoms and Donna Bullock, as Hirsch's clueless but blindly supportive parents.
Emile Hirsch shows a propensity towards 'soulfully earnest' expressions, but does provide one of the film's funniest scenes, as, while high on Ecstasy, he attempts to navigate through a crowd awaiting his speech on 'high moral fiber'. While some critics tended to brush off Elisha Cuthbert's performance as just another skin-baring 'boy toy' variation, she actually conveys the vulnerability and pain of her character's past quite effectively, balancing it with sly humor and a LOT of 'sex appeal', done within the restraints of her "No Nudity" contract clause...Sorry, guys, while you'll see a LOT of her skin, you AREN'T going to see Elisha 'bare all'...
The film is a very funny, breezy lark, and while it never achieves the heights of insanity of RISKY BUSINESS, it certainly stands as one of the better 'teen' comedies of the past few years!
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