Emile Hirsch as Matthew Kidman
Elisha Cuthbert as Danielle
Timothy Olyphant as Kelly
James Remar as Hugo Posh
Chris Marquette as Eli
Paul Dano as Klitz
Timothy Bottoms as Mr. Kidman
Donna Bullock as Mrs. Kidman
Jacob Young as Hunter
Brian Kolodziej as Derek
Brandon Iron as Troy
Amanda Swisten as April
Sung Hi Lee as Ferrari
Ulysses Lee as Samnang
Harris Laskaway as Dr. Salinger
Commentary by director Luke Greenfield
Scene-specific commentary by Elisha Cuthbert and Emile Hirsch
“A Look Next Door” making-of featurette
Deleted and extended scenes with optional director’s commentary
The Eli Experience
The Trailer They Couldn’t Show on TV or in Theaters: “diRRRty”
One sexy Easter egg and more
Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound
Spanish and French Language Track
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Matthew Kidman is your typical high school kid. Though he’s the class president, gets good grades, and is fairly reserved, he longs to get crazy with the “cool kids”. As he approaches the end of his senior year, he focuses all of his attention on getting a scholarship to Georgetown.
However, all that changes when Danielle moves in next door to house-sit for her aunt. Matthew is instantly smitten with the hot young 19 year old. Danielle even briefly toys with him, but it isn’t long before the two develop a relationship with each other. It turns out that Danielle is running from her mysterious past and Matthew is just what she’s looking for in order to escape. Much to the amazement of Matthew’s equally geeky friends, he begins dating Danielle.
Things change, though, when Matthew discovers Danielle’s secret past she was a porn star. This quickly throws their relationship into turmoil, even more so when her former porn producer Kelly shows up. Will Matthew ditch Danielle or stick with her?
This is the unrated version of the film. The theatrical version was rated R for strong sexual content, language and some drug/alcohol use.
I missed this film when it first hit theaters, so I can’t tell you how this unrated version compares to the theatrical version. It has enough nudity, profanity, sexual humor, and drug use in it to qualify for a solid R-rating like the theatrical version, so I’m not sure what was added to make it “unrated”. I guess they’re trying to imply that it’s a little more naughty, thus boost sales among horny teens. Anyway, if said horny teens are hoping to see Elisha Cuthbert nekkid in this version, they can forget it.
In many ways, The Girl Next Door reminds me of Pretty Woman. Both have hot actresses playing noble skanks. One’s a prostitute; the other’s a porn star. (Yet neither Julia Roberts nor Elisha Cuthbert gets naked for the sake of the story/character/whatever excuse actresses usually use. Imagine that!) Both films portray prostitution or pornography as normal, healthy professions. In fact, all the hookers or porn actresses shown are one big, happy, well-adjusted family. Both films also have sappy, sweet endings that don’t end in STD’s. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. (For the record, I thought Pretty Woman was a better film.)
The Girl Next Door has much more in common with the teen sex comedies of the 80’s than anything else. (A genre much in need of revival! OK, maybe not.) This movie is tailored to appeal to horny young teens by portraying their fantasies on the big screen. From the peeping to the porn convention to the geek getting the hot girl, all the dreams of hormonally supercharged high schoolers are here. It’s ironic, though, that most of those same high school aged target audience members are supposed to see this film with a parent or guardian! (At least in theory according to the R rating.)
The movie does have a few shining moments of comedy. It successfully captures the peer pressure and awkwardness of the high school environment. There’s also a funny sequence late in the film where Matthew’s two friends pretend to be directors at a porn convention. That, of course, leads to some amusing results. The film also throws some curveballs at the end when the kids film a video that ends up not being what you’d expect. Unfortunately, the jokes have more misses than hits. The Girl Next Door is generally predictable and it doesn’t take advantage of the many opportunities to make fun of the porn industry. In fact, I’d say this film pretty much glorifies it. In the end, I didn’t get much entertainment value out of seeing teens desperately trying to get sex.
The cast for the film is decent. Emile Hirsch is appropriately geeky and reserved as Matthew Kidman. He’s just on the edge of cutting loose and he makes it believable when he finally does. Elisha Cuthbert is decent as Danielle. She’s able to look slutty or sweet depending on the moment in the story, but she doesn’t do much more than look hot. They could have done a lot more with her character. How did she get into porn? Why does she want out? How has it affected her? None of this was explored. Yes, it was a comedy, but there was enough drama in it to make this territory worth covering. Timothy Olyphant is also good as Kelly, the slimy porn producer. He’s able to switch from friend to foe with relative ease. Frequently stealing the show are Matthew’s friends played by Chris Marquette as Eli and Paul Dano as Klitz. Their reactions to Matthew’s trials and tribulations perfectly echo the audiences’ feelings, thus making them an obvious favorite from the movie.
The soundtrack to the film is pretty good. It’s a mix of new pop songs and classic rock that includes everything from Lynyrd Skynrd to Sneaker Pimps.
Overall, The Girl Next Door is only mildly satisfying. If you want comedy, there are better films out there. If you want romance, other movies deliver better as well. And if you want this movie only for the nudity in the “unrated version”, well, have your mom or dad check out another R-rated movie for you.
There are quite a few extras included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:
Commentary by director Luke Greenfield This is a surprisingly lively commentary by Greenfield. He enthusiastically described the plot, characters, and trivia from the set. The only thing that would have improved his commentary would be if he had done it with the actors. (Apparently he had done a previous commentary that was nixed by lawyers because he talked about something he shouldn’t have. This is his second recording.)
Trivia track This option pops up windows during the movie featuring trivia about all sorts of things. They cover everything from the characters in the film to random statistics about topics only slightly related to what is seen on the screen. If you’ve seen the movie before, this may be worth turning on.
Scene-specific commentary by Elisha Cuthbert and Emile Hirsch Cuthbert and Hirsch separately talk about 5 different scenes from the movie. While I’m glad they cut it to a few short and sweet clips rather than the full feature, I wish they had put these actors together to talk about the scenes. Alone their commentary tends to get dull.
“A Look Next Door” making-of featurette This is your standard DVD “making of” feature. It shows interviews with cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, etc.
Gag reel This features bloopers and outtakes from the film. I think this is the first R rated set of bloopers that I’ve seen.
Deleted and extended scenes with optional director’s commentary There are quite a few deleted scenes included on this DVD, but most of them are quite brief. One shows a bunch of men leering at Danielle on her first date with Matthew. Another shows an alternate ending where Matthew is shown smoking a cigar on the steps of the Capitol Building. One of the most notable deleted scenes features footage from the “Adult Education” video. They are probably best left cut out because they don’t lend themselves that much to sex education.
The Eli Experience This is probably the best of the bonus features. In it, Chris Marquette as Eli attends a real life porn convention with an entourage. While there, they play Candid Camera types of jokes on the convention goers. At a booth they pretend to be auditioning men for a porn movie. They bring the victims in, dress them up, then switch out the beautiful woman with a man that resembles a wrestler. Needless to say, the reactions are great. Later on the wrestler fellow corners people in the lobby of the convention and asks them if they want to make out. Their reactions are great, too.
The Bottom Line:
The Girl Next Door has its moments, but overall there are better comedies out there worth viewing. And the “unrated” version doesn’t seem to have any more appeal than the regular version.