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The Girl Next Door (2004)

Matt never saw her coming… but all his friends did!

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 110 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Movies are normally considered to fall into the “fantasy” genre when they focus on hobbits, pixies, dragons, or other such magical mythical woodland-dwelling creatures. ‘The Girl Next Door’ might not possess any of that guff, but it probably comes much closer to meeting your average teenage boy’s fantasies than anything ‘The Lord of the Rings’ flicks were able to throw up.

It also has to be said that the adventures of Frodo and co. are about as likely to happen in the real world as the events that take place in this latest High School rom-com. But I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest most of the target audience would rather look at the gorgeous Elisha Cuthbert than grizzled old Gandalf any day of the week. Except the slightly weird ones, that is.

’24’ babe Cuthers plays Danielle, the erstwhile porn star who makes High School senior Matthew’s (Emile Hirsch) dreams come true when she moves into the house next door. Tough as it is to believe (he’s the school geek, after all), the pair hit it off and before long are something of an item – but Matt gets more than he bargained for when he and his class buds get dragged into the seedy-yet-strangely-appealing world of skin flicks, big bucks, and phallic-shaped statuettes.

Originality clearly wasn’t the main driving force behind the overall plotline (it owes more than a minor debt to Risky Business), but at the same time this is much more than just 110 minutes of schoolboy ogle-fodder. The story develops at an enjoyable pace, works in several clever twists, and contains more than a couple of genuinely funny bits.

When all’s said and done it’s an entertaining pile of pop-trash – perhaps not one for the politically correct brigade, but undoubtedly proving that, when it comes to teen-coms, there’s definitely life after American Pie.

It's Got: Bill Paxton sound-a-like Timothy Olyphant producing a great turn as Kelly, the shady big-haired muck-director.

It Needs: A bucket of cold water.


About as realistic as, erm – an episode of ‘24’. But bags of fun with it.