The Girl Next Door Script Review
"One summer day, I was walking around my yard when I noticed a car I'd never seen before at my next door neighbor's house. Being the nosy person that I am, I walked next door to see what was going on and noticed a beautiful, young woman unpacking her things. I mustered enough courage to talk to her and found out she was house sitting for a few weeks and asked her the standard questions one asks to get to know somebody. When I asked her what she did for a living, she giggled out of slight embarrassment and told me she was a porn star. After picking my jaw up off the ground and wiping it, my heart began to race as I got extremely nervous because I never thought I could be so lucky. She saw my nervousness and walked up to me and planted a big kiss on my lips. Naturally, I then woke up because that sort of thing just doesn't happen.
Well, it does in the script The Girl Next Door, anyway. Matthew Goodman (the extremely talented Emile Hirsch from The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) is an innocuously handsome 18-year old high school senior with aspirations to become the President of the United States. He's student council president and desperately wants to be popular but always ends up playing it safe. He's essentially a male version of Tracy Flick from Election but with friends. His two best friends are Eli and Klitz. Eli is an Oliver Stone wannabe who is all talk and no action and watches an obscene amount of porn. Klitz is an uptight guy with no self esteem and a Harvard sweatshirt that he often wears because he was accepted early.
Matthew's safe life is interrupted when a stunning, 20-year old woman named Danielle (the gifted and beautiful Elisha Cuthbert from Fox's 24) moves in next door to housesit for his neighbors. After an awkward encounter with Danielle, Matthew spends time with her and falls in love. When he introduces Danielle to his buddies, Eli recognizes her and later informs Matthew that she is in fact a porn star by showing him a pornographic video she starred in. Matthew becomes distraught and feels betrayed by Danielle. Then, he meets up with her porn producer named Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) and more craziness ensues. Quite a bit occurs after that, but I won't spoil any more of the plot for those of you already set on seeing this film. If you're having trouble picturing what type of script this is, think of it as a cross between Election and Risky Business.
The script's main weakness is that it doesn't know what film genre it wants to be placed in. The film opens as a comedy and then shifts to a love story with a hint of comedy. Then, it shifts to a road trip film, followed by a druggy film, a film centered on a "master" plan, and finally to a revenge film. Granted, many films today (Moonlight Mile, Almost Famous, Amelie) contain an infusion of numerous genres spread throughout the length of any given film. However, in The Girl Next Door's case, any given genre it's in is solely that genre, so the story feels uneven as said genres abruptly change.
Matthew and Danielle's romance is underdeveloped. The second half of the film occurs as a direct result of his love for Danielle. Yet, a measly 15 pages (which translates to roughly 15 minutes on film) are dedicated to their relationship's development. Matthew met Danielle, swam with her in a guy's pool, ate dinner once, and followed her to a strip club and a party. That's about it. Why he'd turn his life upside down for her is beyond me. If the 'love-at-first-sight' excuse were given, allowances would have been given. However, that cop-out was nowhere to be found in the script. It's difficult to willingly follow Matthew on his journey when you're wondering what made him fall so hard for Danielle.
This script does have some good aspects. This is considered a teen film, but it isn't like the average teen film. It doesn't rely on 'gross out' humor and physical comedy to get laughs like nearly every teen film out there (Just Married and American Pie 2, perhaps?). There is a clear plot (unlike Not Another Teen Movie), and it's not monotonous because the plot twists aren't obvious, and each character is reminiscent of someone everybody has at one time or another known.
With a great cast and an entertaining script, The Girl Next Door has some potential. Luke Greenfield (director of 2001's The Animal) is directing from his own co-written script, so the finished product ought to stay true to the source material. Although I had some minor problems with it, I am still looking forward to seeing this movie. The Girl Next Door rolls into a theater near you in Spring 2004."
(Review submitted by Verbal)
That's all folks...