Back Comments (1) Share:
Facebook Button
Elisha Cuthbert as a porn star?!! Stop wishing 24 fans, it’s only gone and happened. Well, kinda. Meet The Girl Next Door. Yes, it’s another Teen Movie—but wait, come back, this isn’t that bad...

Considering how the DVD-buying public has been deluged with numerous teen movie DVDs—all of which promise to be ‘far naughtier than you saw in the cinema’ and boast ‘raunchier content’—it was only a matter of time before film producers cottoned onto this and gave us something saucier from square one: porn. Well, not quite. However, if you believe the publicity then this is what you could be expecting from this movie. But you didn’t believe the publicity, did you? Did you?

Girl Next Door, The
Film
Emile Hirsh plays eighteen year old, Matthew Kidman. With his high-school days disappearing faster than a plate of doughnuts at a celebrity fit farm, Matthew realises that he’s never truly lived life. While the more popular students are hitting the town, he’s hitting the books. All that is set to change with the arrival of Danielle, AKA the girl next door. Danielle is your typical wild-child and shows Matthew how to enjoy himself. Love blossoms almost immediately, but Danielle hides a dirty secret...she’s a porn star.

Cue hilarious consequences? Well, almost. While The Girl Next Door is never side-splitting it does have it’s fair share of laughs and, with a charm that is usually absent from this type of films, manages to keep you watching till the end credits roll. It’s not without it’s flaws though; ignoring the frequent jumps of logic (something of a prerequisite for a teen movie), we never really touch upon the ‘ickier’ problems of going out with a porn star. At no point in the movie does Matthew question Danielle about her ‘past relationships’ or her choice of career. That sort of thing may be a bit heavy for the genre, but this is supposed to be one of those movies with ‘a heart’ (in much the same way as the American Pie trilogy). The absence of this sort of scene makes that claim seem to be a big fat sham.

Still, I guess we’re not here for high-running emotions, are we? We just want a few belly laughs and maybe a bit of T&A. Well, if that’s your game then The Girl Next Door is an adequate purchase. It's perhaps lacking in re-watch value, but there’s a few directorial flourishes that almost fool you into believing you’re watching something slightly smarter than this actually is. Narrative-wise, the film seems to lose it’s way in a slow middle patch, but fortunately things are redeemed with a genuinely pleasing final reel. The acting is also pretty sold; Elisha Cuthert erases all memories of 24's Kim Bauer, while Emile Hirsh makes a likeable protagonist. Special mention to Timothy Olyphant too, as a seedy porn director with several sides to his personality.

As for that ‘Uncovered: What You Didn’t See in the Cinema’ addedum...well, don’t get too excited because there’s nothing overly saucy here. Perhaps that claim should be altered to ‘What You Didn’t Really Miss in the Cinema’.

Video
Considering that it only wandered into cinemas in April 2004, it’s unsurprising that the transfer is pretty solid. Not exceptional admittedly, but good enough for this relatively low-profile release. Colours are occasionally dull and there's a minute amount of grain visible in early scenes, but there's nothing to make you believe you're watching a movie that is older than this truly is. Unfortunately, there are no surprises that the picture quality doesn't stretch throughout the extras, which vary in clarity. The deleted scenes, for instance, are grimy and badly presented. Considering how DVD has taken off in the past few years, it's surprising that the high-profile studios don't take a bit more care in transferring them to the shiny format. The film is presented in the anamorphic 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

Girl Next Door, The
Audio
The humble teen movie is never the greatest test of your surround system, but you have to give those speakers a low-calorie workout occasionally, right? While The Girl Next Door doesn't feature exploding spacecraft, roaring dinosaurs or erupting volcanoes, it does boast a soundtrack of famous tunes which pop up frequently. These sound passable enough, but not outstanding, through the 5.1 track. The dialogue and occasional sound effects sound far better and, as is to be expected from a 20th Century Fox DVD, the rare snatches of action (car-crashes etc), is where the mix truly excels.

Extras
Should you ever wish to explore the hidden depths of this film (!), then Director Luke Greenfield is on hand to give a commentary. Not too many of those pesky pauses which frequent chat-tracks, but the fact that this movie isn’t high-art means that there isn’t too much to say that will be of significant interest.

Emile Hirsh and Elisha Cuthbert are also called upon for some (separate) scene specific commentaries. Hirsh can offer relatively little aside from occasionally commenting ‘he/she is a really good actor’, and Cuthbert is little better, although does offer her opinions on nudity clauses!

Of more interest, is a frankly barmy trivia track which details random facts that go far beyond the movie. Ranging from informing the viewer that ‘1500 students apply for Georgetown University every year’ to how ‘In his 90s rap 'Ice, Ice Baby', Vanilla Ice sampled Queen and David Bowie’s 'Under Pressure'’, it’s a delightful oddity which is well presented.

The Eli Experience is an overlong and not overly humorous featurette recorded at the Adult Video News awards. You’re not missing much if you skip it.  The same can be said of The Look Next Door, a supposed documentary which is actually one of those familiar Promos that frequently pop up on movie channels.

The Gag Reel isn’t great, but there are a few smiles to be gained and the deleted scenes are more specifically ‘extended’ or ‘alternate’. There’s quite a large bunch of them (all with commentary by the director) with nothing that truly changes the reading of the film but a few moments of interest. Unfortunately, these scenes have not been cleaned up from the cutting-room floor; they’re rough edits and many carry the legend ‘May Not Be Copied, Transferred or Sold’.

Rounding things off is a welcome, though unexciting, Stills Gallery and the customary Theatrical Trailer.

Girl Next Door, The
Overall
The Girl Next Door is a pleasing addition to the teen movie genre and an enjoyable way to spend 104 minutes. The DVD is as thorough as the film deserves, although the reasonably long list of features tends to denote an attempt of quantity over quality. Newcomers to the film may want to wait for the inevitable six-month price-drop, while fans need to weigh-up whether the slightly uninspiring extras justify an instant purchase.


Links: