The Girl Next Door on DVD
By Johnny Bray
Lets talk a little bit about The Girl Next Door, shall we?
When released in theatres, it was dubbed a sexy, naughty comedy about a former
porn star who moves next door to a high school loser. Based on the clips, it
seemed obvious that the highlight of the movie was to see Elisha Cuthbert naked
(or at least, topless).
Now, with the DVD, we get the Unrated version of the film. According to the
box, it features more skin
packed with raunchy added
scenes. Either side of the box features Cuthbert wearing very little.
Theres even a disclaimer warning about adult content and nudity.
Naturally, like any heterosexual male, I was looking forward to watching the
movie more for the inevitable than the movie itself, which I figured would be
okay at best.
Let me tell you a little something about The Girl Next Door. At 109 minutes,
it spends its entire duration teasing you, making you want to see Cuthberts
assets more and more, but by the end youve seen absolutely nothing. Everyone
to whom Ive talked (men and women alike) were more than a little disappointed
by the end result.
It may seem somewhat shallow to judge a movie based on the lack of a single
actress's nudity, but when youre given the impression (numerous times)
that youll be seeing plenty of it, you start to wonder about certain things.
For example, the movie is not nearly as raunchy as it would have you believe.
Trying to market itself as another American Pie, Girl Next Door has
very few laughs and none of the surprise shocking moments of Pie. In fact, the
whole thing seems to be nothing more than a formulaic romantic comedy with a
few shots of nudity thrown in to keep the guys interested.
Whats that? Nudity, I say?
Well, sort of. There are a couple of brief shots of porn stars with their shirts
off, and theyre not so bad looking, but I figure they threw them in merely
to justify all the warnings on the box. Theyre no Elisha Cuthbert, thats
Other than the major misleadings, the movie is still a pretty big mess. Its
filled with clichéd characters and plot points, and never seems quite
sure what its trying to do. You even have to suspend your disbelief in
a few places (and theyre not very subtle).
The main characters are likeable enough, but they dont have the ability
to hold up the movie on their own. Director Luke Greenfield, who directed The
Animal, does an excellent job of stringing us along without ever delivering
the goods. Theres not a single second in the movie that I felt would not
have been suitable for theaters, so the whole Unrated thing seems
like nothing more than a gimmick.
The good thing about movie critics is that we watch a lot of these movies so
that you dont have to. Now that you know the truth about The Girl Next
Door, you should find sufficient cinematic experiences elsewhere. Theres
nothing here you cant get from hundreds of other, better, movies, and
many of them even feature the beautiful main character topless. The Girl Next
Door is only for those who wish to satisfy their curiosity.
The DVD comes in separate full screen and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen versions.
The wide version features crystal clear picture, with excellent detail and fleshtones.
Colors are rich, and there are plenty of dimly lit scenes in which you can still
easily make out whats going on.
Audio, in the usual Dolby Digital 5.1, is better than expected. Separation
is good, with the front channels handling most of the dialogue, and the rear
speakers belting out sound effects at every turn. The dance/party scenes are
the best, with the musical beats and noises of the crowd filling the room very
effectively. During one or two of the quieter scenes, however, I did notice
a bit of tinniness.
There are 16 uncensored deleted and extended scenes on the disc,
and before you get your hopes up, you should know that theyre not as uncensored
as they would have you believe. Most are extremely short and didnt really
need to be in the movie, so we can see why they were cut.
Theres also an unrated gag reel that makes us wish theyd
stop calling all this stuff unrated or uncensored. Give it a rest already.
A Look Next Door is a typical behind-the-scenes featurette that
features cast and crew interviews, and gives them a chance to backslap each
other and talk about the movie without actually saying anything of interest.
The Eli XXXperience is another featurette that follows actor Chris
Marquette in character, going around and harassing complete strangers and getting
them to do humiliating things on camera. Okay, so maybe its not all bad.
Theres also a sizzling (sigh) photo gallery, and a series
The Girl Next Door, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
109 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, James Remar, Chris
Marquette, Paul Dano
Produced by Charles Gordon, Harry Gittes, Marc Sternberg
Screenplay by Stuart Blumberg and David T. Wagner & Brent Goldberg, Directed
by Luke Greenfield
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