Sunday, June 20, 2010
Girl Next Door
Girl Next Door; Comedy, USA, 2004; D: Luke Greenfield, S: Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, Chris Marquette, Paul Dano, James Remar
Just a few days before graduating from high school, secluded teenager Matthew realizes he will not remember anything about this time since he never experienced anything: all the wild parties and fun are happening to someone else. However, one day a blond girl, Danielle, moves next door and becomes his friend, showing him all the wild things he missed so far as a teenager. However, he gets angry when his friends Eli and Klitz discover that Danielle is actually a - porn star. Her porn producer Kelly shows up and demands money from Matthew for talking her into quitting her job. Matthew and his friends manage to film a sex education film disguised as a porn and secure enough money to free Danielle from her obligations.
"Girl Next Door" is the most charming in the first third when it clumsily, but somehow honestly and in its own way presents the always fascinating story about a wild girl who stirs up a shy-secluded guy from a "gray existence" and forces him to experience all the wild things of life he missed out so far, paraphrasing such superior classics like Demme's "Something Wild" or (admittedly much more conservative) Hawks' "Bringing Up Baby". Emile Hirsch is wonderfully sustained as the main hero Matthew and Elisha Cuthbert is quite good in her role as Danielle, whereas the story even manages to make the viewers feel some sort of an emotional attachment to them - the opening where Matthew contemplates about how he will probably not remember anything about high school because he never experienced anything is quite sad, whereas at least one sequence is genius: Matthew, Eli and Klitz, who were never invited to parties before, follow Danielle and walk right into a house where a huge party is under way. Some guy starts talking with her while another one puts his arm around Matthew and slowly walks him away from them, telling him to go away because this party isn't for him. But just as everything seems lost, Matthew collects all his courage and walks back, spontaneously kissing Danielle. However, the porn actress subplot is rather underused. Unfortunately, once the bad guy Kelly shows up some 3/5 into the film, it causes the film to crash completely. Whereas the transition from comedy to crime inexplicably had sense in "Something Wild", here it just seems annoying. More so, many dumb ideas poison the good story until it gets completely wrecked. Having a tight grip to resist the wrong choices in a story still seems to be endemic, though the film has its moments.