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The Girl Next Door
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has explicit sexual references and situations. Many of the main characters work in the pornography industry. While the glimpses of porn video footage are brief and more suggestive than explicit, there are some graphic images and there is a lot of vulgar humor. Characters go to a strip club and get lap dances. Characters also drink and smoke, and a character's inadvertent use of the drug Ecstasy is portrayed as humorous. There is some violence, including fights, and characters use very strong language. Parents should also be aware that they may find the overall themes of the movie inappropriate even for older teens, including the idea of the porn star as a fantasy romantic figure.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, good boy Matthew (Emile Hirsch) is just about to get everything he's been working for. He's on the verge of getting a scholarship to Georgetown and he's raised $25,000 to bring a brilliant student to America to study. Then one night he sees a gorgeous girl (Elisha Cuthbert) in the house next door, getting undressed. She sees him peeping and comes over -- she is house-sitting. They go for a ride and she asks him when the last time was that he did something crazy. The next thing he knows, he's standing naked in the street as she drives away. And soon after that, he and Danielle are up to mischief. All is dewy young love in soft focus until he finds out that she's a porn star. He is disappointed in her. She is disappointed in him because he is disappointed in her. Danielle goes back to her porn producer. Matthew goes after her. Kelly goes after him. The $25,000 disappears. Snobbish bullies must be shown up. And there is still that speech he has to give to win that scholarship.
Is it any good?
This movie's overall themes are truly vile. Many films present prostitutes as the romantic ideal, but whether the movie is a silly comedy (Trading Places), a romantic comedy (Pretty Woman), a comedy with literary allusions (Mighty Aphrodite), or even a drama (Leaving Las Vegas and Klute), there is something uncomfortably misogynistic about these heroines. They always seem to be impossible fantasy figures, eternally available and unshockable yet somehow ineradicably pure, and, perhaps the ultimate fantasy, having experienced many men but preferring our leading man.
In the most cynical manner, this movie smugly attempts to have it both ways. It wants us to be titillated by Danielle's past and yet root for her innocent romance. It wants us to assume that she is both hooker and angel. The ultimate conclusion is all the more smarmy for trying not to be. The main actors give decent performances and there are a few moments of comedy, a better-than-average soundtrack, and even a little charm. But the last third of the plot is both vile and stupid.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: April 8, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: August 23, 2004
- Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant
- Director: Luke Greenfield
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, language and some drug/alcohol use
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.