a critiQal film review The Girl Next Door (2004)

Plot: Matthew (Hirsch), a senior in high school, is a great student and has already been accepted to Georgetown. To get to Georgetown, however, he must get a scholarship by proving his moral fiber. Then, Danielle (Cuthbert) moves in next door. He immediately falls for her, only to later discover her sordid past. Now, as her past begins to make itself known, he must weave his way through the tangle his life has become and discover what's truly important to him.

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  • ...women will enjoy it, but - despite the scenery - guys will want to ditch out of this one early.

When I originally saw previews for The Girl Next Door, I knew I had to see it. I mean, c’mon – a porno star going to the prom with a geek? How could I miss seeing that? Reid, of course, was a bit hesitant, because he thought it looked to be just another “chick” flick, with porn stars in just to woo guys to the film. He finally gave in, however, and we picked it up from our local Blockbuster®.

I’d never heard of any of the people in The Girl Next Door before (although Reid knows he’s heard the name Timothy Olyphant floating around before). Emile Hirsch, who I think looks sort of like he’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s brother or something, did a decent job in the film. He and Elisha Cuthbert had great chemistry on-screen, and really made the movie believable, despite kind of an idiotic directing job. Their feelings for each other are the real basis of the film, and they provided a great base for the film to build from.

Unfortunately, that’s about where The Girl Next Door begins to falter. The basic plot (hot girl moves in next door, falls for average Joe) is appealing to most guys, but then they turn the movie into a film for women. It’s an odd combination of a chick flick trying to woo guys, and it just falls short. The guys in the film are put into a whole myriad of uncomfortable situations, making most of the guys watching tune out, then tries to bring the guys back to the film by bringing the cast to the Adult Video Awards bash. It’s a new way of trying to get guys to watch a “chick” flick…and it doesn’t work very well at all – at least it didn’t in Reid’s case..

Reid says: “Basically, this is just the latest ‘chick’ flick. Girls watching will get hooked by the whole ‘love story’ behind the shenanigans, and won’t be turned away by watching the guys get into uncomfortable situations. At the end, the whole film wraps up just a little too neatly (as in most ‘chick’ flicks), and the women watching will walk away with a good vibe about the film.

If you’re a guy, though, your reaction will be pretty much the opposite. Sure, the Unrated DVD version helps, with a bit of scenery that the guys will like, but all in all, this film will leave you with a bit of a bad taste in your mouth. If the woman in your life wants you to watch one of ‘her’ movies, try going with something different, like Mean Girls. Despite the promises of this film, The Girl Next Door will make you want to change addresses.”

So, 3 stars from me, 1 from Reid – that comes out to 2 stars for The Girl Next Door.

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