Sunday, July 12, 2020
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Porn Stars and ‘The Girl Next Door’

What happens when you take a chick flick and throw in some porn stars?
The age-old (or maybe just guys’ old) question is answered by the comedy, ‘The Girl Next Door.’ Just finishing his last year in high school, our 18-year-old protagonist Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) is in for the ride of his life when he meets Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert), the new girl next door. An instant attraction forms and a dynamic symbiosis begins.
Filled with themes ranging from growing up and finding yourself to returning to innocence, the movie successfully provides a plot and a setup that is both entertaining and fulfilling.
I’ll admit it: As a guy I may hold a higher opinion of this movie because (as most guys will agree) Elisha Cuthbert is drop-dead gorgeous in this film and plays an ex-porn star. Looking a little deeper, we find believable character development in addition to beautiful girls and hilarious situations, including cameos of models Sung Hi Lee and Amanda Swisten and a porn convention scene you’ll have to see to believe.
Aided by his two best friends Eli (Chris Marquette), an aspiring filmmaker, and Klitz (Paul Dano), the epitome of a high school geek, Matthew finds out just how far he’ll go for this girl.
Being the kind of movie that it is, don’t expect an Oscar-winning drama. However, you can still enjoy watching it. I’d even say the role played by Cuthbert is more mature than her role on Fox’s ’24’ as Kim Bauer. She has an incredible on-screen presence, and hopefully this movie will give her future opportunities in the movie industry.
The first half of the movie is actually reminiscent of a traditional high school love story, where boy meets girl and things go from there. As the movie goes on, however, things take a turn for the obscure, where at some points you’re forced to just ‘go with it.’ A slight disappointment is towards the end of the movie where Cuthbert is featured less and, for better or worse, the focus turns to the porn stars.
Even if you aren’t a Cuthbert fan, this movie can still be entertaining. I said ‘chick flick’ to describe this movie, as it upholds several of the necessary attributes. Also applicable may be the term ‘date movie.’
Over the course of the plot’s progression, Danielle and Matthew develop feelings for each other. While Danielle pushes Matthew to break free from the perfect, straight-A, risk-free life he has led throughout high school, Matthew appreciates Danielle for who she is and tries to convince her to leave her past behind and to be herself. This simple struggle becomes complicated, however, when Danielle’s former ‘producer,’ Kelly (Timothy Olyphant), wants him to stay away from her.
Matthew is continually surprised with ordeals that include high school, Kelly, a Cambodian transfer student, a Las Vegas porn convention, a golden penis and finally, an … interesting … senior prom.
The story is original and unique, and probably something that you wouldn’t expect to realistically happen. The characters’ honesty, however, is something viewers can connect with. Sacrificing it all for a first love and seeing someone for who he or she really is would be something we all can relate to.
‘The Girl Next Door’ is a lighthearted option for a movie. It has everything you look forward to: comedy, romance, porn stars, satisfying performances and Elisha Cuthbert.