"Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze"
Boy meets girl who's already met all sorts of boys and girls in this teen-slanted comedy. Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) is a straight-laced and highly ambitious high school student who plans to study at Georgetown University and dreams of a career in politics. While most of his classmates are in the throes of an epidemic of senioritis, Matthew is obsessed with schoolwork and has a hard time relaxing and having fun. But he finds himself a bit less focused on his future career when Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert), a beautiful 19-year-old blonde, moves in next door. Danielle is playful, spontaneous, and doesn't always remember to draw her shades, and before long Matthew is head over heels in love. Danielle soon finds herself taken with Matthew as well, but their relationship takes an unusual turn when he discovers that, before she moved to town, Danielle had a successful career as a porn actress. Matthew is able to convince Danielle that she's cut out for better things in life than appearing in porn videos, but his advice doesn't especially please Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) or Hugo (James Remar), two porn moguls who figure Matthew owes them big-time after convincing their leading lady to drop out of the adult industry. The Girl Next Door -- which, appropriately enough, shares its title with a 1999 documentary about adult film superstar Stacy Valentine -- also features Timothy Bottoms, Paul Dano, and Chris Marquette.
The Girl Next Door is so full of clichés and just overloaded with cheesiness and yet, after all this I find it quite amusing. That isn't normal of me because I usually despise teeny bopper chick flicks (American Pie makes the cut among a few other classics) and surprisingly, this one makes it on top. Elisha Cuthbert exudes the eroticism and beauty of the character and yet, she didn't over do it, just the right mix. Emile Hirsch, a then unknown, equally shines as well.
As a huge fan of all that is John Hughes, it was no surprise to discover certain homages paid to its teen movie predecessors. Even in the score of the film there was the underlying beat of that Risky Business mood music (or something closely resembling it) in key scenes with Emile.
In a film that could have easily turned to garbage with boobs and butts galore, the filmmakers never forgot that what we were dealing with here, is simply two kids trying to be comfortable in their own skin. They discover a balance in each other and fall head over heels. And why wouldn't they? I can't remember the last time in any recent release where two characters were able to communicate so much through their facial expressions and eyes.
So what if the premise is far-fetched. We could all pick apart the logistics of such a scenario with its ridiculous improbabilities. However, the reason we all fork over our hard earned money at the box office or in rentals or in cable subscriptions is that we want to be entertained. This movie does just that and was in no way the predictable teen farce that Hollywood usually cranks out.