Occasionally funny yet startlingly offensive, The Girl Next Door might have been another slice of American Pie if it wasn't quite so unsavoury. Emile Hirsch plays Matthew, a high-flying overachiever on the fast track to success who falls in love with Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert), the gorgeous girl who's just moved in next door. She's sassy, sexy, and completely desirable... and was once an adult movie star called Athena. Can Matthew transform her from porn queen to prom queen before the last dance?
Concocting a plan to "rescue" Danielle from the porn industry, Matthew and his dweeby best friends, Eli (Chris Marquette) and Klitz (Paul Dano), find themselves embroiled in a plot involving a sleazebag adult movie producer (Timothy Olyphant) and a Las Vegas porno convention. It's bright, it's glossy, and it's everything a teenage boy could ask for, with Cuthbert projecting an air of lip-licking lasciviousness while a host of pneumatic Barbie doll porn stars flash their plastic cleavages. Hormonal heaven.
"NOTHING SUBTLE ABOUT THIS TEEN COMEDY"
With its prurient desire to reduce women to sex objects, there's nothing subtle about this dubious teen comedy. It looks like the kind of fantasy concocted by a 15-year-old male virgin and scribbled on a couple of sheets of sticky Kleenex. The gigglingly self-congratulatory tagline says it all: "Matthew didn't see her coming, but all his friends had." Fnarr, fnarr.
Fortunately, not all its brains are in its trousers. Hirsch is a refreshingly likeable leading boy, and the supporting players tease out every last bit of humour from the truly ridiculous setup. As the slimy porno producer with a grudge, Olyphant is a revelation, charging onto the screen like an anorexic Bill Paxton on amphetamine diet pills. It all adds up to a film that teenage boys will probably think is the best teen comedy ever made. Is that a recommendation? We're still not certain.