The Girl Next Door (2004)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Sex Comedy, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Apr 9, 2004 (USA)  |   Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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On the outset, The Girl Next Door might seem like a by-the-numbers raunchy time at the movies, complete with a wacky plot that promises enough partying, high-school misfits, and sexy goodness to wrangle in your typical American Pie filmgoers. Interestingly enough, audiences will be in for quite a surprise when they find out how serious the fantasy-fueled premise actually plays out. While there are enough comedic moments to warm the heart, the coming-of-age dramatics easily take center stage as the filmmakers try and find the balance that someone like Cameron Crowe has excelled at. Still, there's something strange about having a story line this outrageous played so straight-faced. If you were to sum up what happens in the flick to someone who hasn't seen it, it would belie the movie's tone and come off as more of a crazy sex comedy. If anything, The Girl Next Door gives Elisha Cuthbert a chance to shine in a role that shows off her immaculate body as well as her acting chops (even if some of her reactions tend to be on the awkward side). Timothy Olyphant also turns in a standout performance as a sleazy porn producer; his charming psychotic is refreshingly non-stereotypical in both his actions and the smooth performance that he brings to the screen. In the end, there's nothing really wrong with the film (though the third act has about one too many "surprises" in it). It's a sweet tale that will hopefully snag in romantics looking for this kind of light fare. If you're looking for some kind of sleazy teen offering, however, this one is a little on the soft-core side.