The Girl Next Door (2004 film)

The Girl Next Door (2004 film)

Infobox Film
name = The Girl Next Door

writer = David T. Wagner
Brent Goldberg (story and screenplay)
Stuart Blumberg(screenplay)
starring = Emile Hirsch
Elisha Cuthbert
Timothy Olyphant
James Remar
Chris Marquette
Paul Dano
director = Luke Greenfield
editing = Mark Livolsi
producer = Charles Gordon
Harry Gittes
Marc Sternberg
music = Paul Haslinger
distributor = 20th Century Fox
released = April 9, 2004
runtime = 109 minutes
country = USA
language = English
budget =
amg_id = 1:290380
imdb_id = 0265208

"The Girl Next Door" is a 2004 teen film starring Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert.


An ambitious Westport High School senior, Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch), dreams of a career in politics. He plans to attend Georgetown University if he can get a big upcoming scholarship. He begins a relationship with his beautiful new neighbor Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert), but soon discovers through his porn-addicted friend Eli (Chris Marquette) that she used to be an adult film actress known by her fans as "Belle".

Following Eli's poor advice, Matthew takes Danielle to a sleazy motel. Danielle guesses that Matthew has discovered her past and punishes him by performing a humiliating striptease and offering herself to him sexually. When Matthew becomes distressed, Danielle calls him on wanting to "fuck a porn star in a cheap motel room" and abruptly ends the relationship. When he attempts to reconcile with her later, he learns that she is leaving for Las Vegas with her ex-boyfriend, porn producer Kelly (Timothy Olyphant).

Matthew and his friends follow Danielle and find her performing at an adult film convention where Kelly menacingly warns Matthew not to interfere with his business. When Matthew convinces Danielle not to rejoin the industry, Kelly abducts Matthew from school and physically assaults him, saying that Danielle's failure to arrive on set has cost him $30,000. Kelly offers to let him erase his debt by breaking into rival producer Hugo Posh's home to steal an award statuette, but after Matthew has entered the house Kelly calls in a robbery report and leaves the premises. Matthew narrowly avoids the police and rushes to his scholarship dinner. High on ecstasy that Kelly told him was aspirin, he improvises a deeply sentimental speech but loses the scholarship due to his outrageous behavior.

Kelly then gets his money back by withdrawing $25,000 from an account Matthew opened to bring Samnang, a brilliant Cambodian student, to study in the United States (not wanting to explain his connections to the adult film industry, Matthew had previously introduced Kelly to the bank staff as his student adviser). Fearing that he will face expulsion or criminal charges for his unwitting role in the fraud, he turns to Danielle for help. Danielle calls in a few friends from her days as a porn star, and they agree to make a video for Hugo Posh on prom night and on school grounds. After the successful shoot, and after Eli has been dropped off with the tape's master copy, Danielle and Matthew make love for the first time in their limousine.

The next morning Matthew is shocked to discover Kelly, in possession of the tape he has stolen from Eli's home, with his parents and school principal at the dining room table. Kelly asks to speak privately with Matthew, then tells him that unless he is given half of all profits he will play the tape immediately. Matthew refuses because the money rightfully belongs to Samnang. Kelly repeats his threat, and Matthew says that he no longer cares about his now-ruined future. As the tape begins to play, it becomes clear that Matthew and his friends have made a progressive, comprehensive sex ed tape rather than a pornographic film. With no more cards left to play, Kelly finally admits defeat.

In the film's closing montage, we learn the fates of the film's central characters, including Kelly, Eli, and Matthew's friend Klitz. Hugo Posh and Matthew make millions from the video, although Matthew serves as Posh's "silent partner" and his involvement is largely kept secret. Posh keeps his word and pays for Samnang to come to the USA, while Matthew has enough money to attend Georgetown and take Danielle to DC with him. Matthew's story ends with him getting the girl of his dreams and a chance at the future he has always wanted.


Project began development at the end of 1999 with the first draft of the script delivered in early 2000. Christopher McKenna, who is mentioned in the director's commentary on the DVD, is responsible for the basic story structure and plot of the completed movie (due to a Writer's Guild arbitration hearing, he was stripped of all credit. Furthermore, according to Eli Roth (Hostel, etc.) in an interview on June 5, 2007 on KITS "LIVE 105" (based in San Francisco, California), Chris McKenna got the story idea and the actual dialogue from conversations Chris had with Eli while Eli was in the editing studio for one of his movies. Eli Roth actually did date "the porn star next door" among others, and Chris listened to his stories and turned it into this movie without crediting Eli. This claim however does not hold up when researching the actual development of the film. Agent Don Buchwald approached his producer friend Harry Gittes in 1999 about an episode of Howard Stern's radio show in which a high school student was set up with a porn star. Gittes brought the project to Charles Gordon, whose executive Marc Sternberg supervised a script originally written by David Wagner and Brent Goldberg. McKenna's involvement was at the behest of director Luke Greenfield, who collaborated on the script with him (also uncredited). David Kartch was previously attached to direct, but dropped out and was replaced by Luke Greenfield in 2002. Producers Charles Gordon and Marc Sternberg, as well as studio executive Peter Cramer, had earlier worked together as the producers of October Sky (1999), which also featured a teenager's attempts at social mobility.

According to the DVD commentary, the character of Eli is based on writer/director Luke Greenfield. Much of the production staff make direct appearances within the film, as does Luke's mother, his assistant, the producer, and the producers' assistants. Additionally, the prom in the film takes place in the cafeteria, much in the same way as the director's. These elements bestow a considerable personal touch on behalf of the production staff on the film. All scenes showing topless models were also shot in PG-13 versions. Other locations included Santa Clarita (many school scenes shot at the College of the Canyons in Valencia), South Pasadena, the Masonic Lodge of Pasadena, Long Beach, and Hollywood (including a porn convention sequence shot at the Ren-Mar studios on Cahuenga Boulevard). The first kiss between Matthew and Danielle was shot on March 10, 2003 in the backyard of a house on Capri Drive north of Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades. It was the first shot of a night that began at 8pm and ended at 5am. Unusually for the area, temperatures dipped into the high 30s, necessitating that portable gas heaters be brought in for the actors and extras.

Shooting in Agoura Hills was briefly halted to retrieve one of the parrots which was meant to attack Hirsch but instead flew up a nearby tree. As Hirsch was still a minor during production, all of his nude scenes were performed by a stunt double. For a lap dance scene, several pillows were placed between him and the dancer [ [ The Girl Next Door (2004) - Trivia ] ] . Despite all this consideration, it is noted that the champagne drunk in the limo by the underage actors near the end of the movie was real. Two extras were injured during shooting at Ren-Mar studios in Hollywood, CA, during the scene where Matt "Horshu" Wiese chases the two sidekicks. Hirsch himself was hurt whilst filming a fight sequence with Timothy Olyphant.

Principal photography ended in late March but two days of pickups, mostly comprising the scenes from the opening montage, were shot in Santa Clarita on April 24 and 25. The first cut of the film ran 120 minutes, which was later cut to 106 minutes. There are several rare versions of the one-sheet, in which Hirsch's inset character wears a blue rather than red shirt, and others in which the uncredited Christopher McKenna is given a "Screenplay By" credit alongside Stuart Blumberg and Luke Greenfield. In these versions, original screenwriters David Wagner and Brent Goldberg receive "Story By" credit. This one-sheet, however, was not released to theaters. Budgeted at $19.9 million, the final project costs were $21 million.

The original release date was intended to be March 5, 2004, but was moved to April 9, 2004, which happened to be Good Friday, As a play on the title of a competing film, The Passion of the Christ, a marketing executive offered the tagline "This Easter, experience a different kind of 'Passion'." This suggestion, however, was quickly shot down by studio brass. Despite security precautions, the film appeared in pirated versions on the Internet before its release, primarily due to extensive preview screenings. A high quality DVD transfer was also leaked before the home video release, which also was available for download through file sharing software.


*Emile Hirsch as Matthew Kidman
*Elisha Cuthbert as Danielle/Athena
*Timothy Olyphant as Kelly
*James Remar as Hugo Posh
*Chris Marquette as Eli Brooks
*Paul Dano as Klitz
*Timothy Bottoms as Mr. Kidman
*Donna Bullock as Mrs. Kidman
*Jacob Young as Hunter
*Amanda Swisten as April
*Sung-Hi Lee as Ferrari
*Ulysses Lee as Samnang Sok
*Harris Laskaway as Mr. Salinger
*Olivia Wilde as Kellie


*Actresses Sung-Hi Lee and Karen McDougal are both real-life "Playboy" models.
*"Beauty and the Geek" contestant Lauren Bergfeld appeared in the audience during the auditorium scene.
*Briana Banks and Jenna Jameson were also originally slated to appear in this film. Briana Banks does make an appearance, however, as the woman shown in the magazine at the beginning of the film.
*The lips seen in the opening shot of the film are those of Amanda Swisten.
*David Daskal from "Average Joe: Hawaii" (2004) appears in the beginning of the movie in a group of students and later on as a student in the classroom.
*Professional wrestler Matt Wiese has a cameo as Mule, the boyfriend of one of the porn actresses during the Adult Film Convention sequence.
*The Cougars lion costume featured in numerous scenes of the film is the same as that featured in "Old School" (2003), in which Elisha Cuthbert also appeared. In this film it is credited as the "Harrison Cougar."
*The director makes an appearance in the montage at the film's end as a porn director.
*The producers are visible in the waiting room of the airport scene.
*The director's mother appears in the scholarship banquet scene.
*The producer's assistants appear as Yale college students watching a sex-ed film at the end of the movie. One of Luke Greenfield's assistants also appeared in the cafeteria at the beginning of the film, implying that this fellow high school graduate also ended up going to college with Klitz's character.


Opening on 2,148 screens, the film grossed six million on its opening weekend, and took in a total worldwide of over $30 million dollars. [cite web | author=| date=April 9, 2004| title=The Girl Next Door (2004) | format= | | url= | accessdate=2006-06-07]

Critical reaction

The movie received generally mixed reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes ranking it 56% Rotten. Criticism came especially from conservative film critic Michael Medved, for its stereotypically glamourous portrayal of porn stars, particularly female porn stars. Roger Ebert described it as a "nasty piece of business", and faulted movie studios for marketing the film as a teen comedy. [cite web | author=Ebert, Roger| date=April 9, 2004| title=THE GIRL NEXT DOOR | format= | | url= | accessdate=2006-06-07] Medved additionally charged the film with glamourously portraying other facets of current American culture, particularly American popular culture.

The film was also criticized by some for hyping Cuthbert as playing a porn star, and selling an "Unrated" version with box art simulating a censorship bar over her chest and torso, when no version of the film features any nudity by Cuthbert.


The film was nominated for two MTV Movie Awards including Best Kiss and Breakthrough Female performance for Elisha Cuthbert. [cite web | author=| year=| title=Awards for The Girl Next Door | format=| | url= | accessdate=2006-06-07]

oundtrack listing

*"Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie
*"Angeles" by Elliott Smith
*"The Killing Moon" by Echo & the Bunnymen
*"Jump into the Fire" by Harry Nilsson
*"Something in the Air" by Thunderclap Newman
*"The Field" by Christopher Tyng
*"Take my Picture" by Filter
*"Slayed" by Overseer
*"No Retreat" by Dilated Peoples
*"This Year's Love" by David Gray
*"If It Feels Good Do It" by Sloan
*"Electric Lady Land" by Fantastic Plastic Machine
*"Bendy karate" by Phreak E.D.
*"Dick Dagger's Theme" by PornoSonic
*"Suffering" by Satchel
*"Break Down the Walls" by Youth of Today
*"Dopes to Infinity" by Monster Magnet
*"Spin Spin Sugar (Radio Edit)" by Sneaker Pimps
*"Big Muff" by Pepe Deluxé
*"Song for a Blue Guitar" by Red House Painters
*"Twilight Zone" by 2 Unlimited
*"Get Naked" by Methods of Mayhem
*"MONDO '77" by Looper
*"Think Twice" by Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band
*"This Beat is Hot" by B.G. The Prince of Rap
*"Turn of the Century" by Pete Yorn
*"Stay in School" by Richard Patrick
*"Funk #49" by James Gang
*"Lady Marmalade" by Patti LaBelle
*"Christmas Song" by Mogwai
*"Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
*"Arrival" by Mark Kozelek
*"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye
*"Counterfeit (song)|Counterfeit" by Limp Bizkit
*"Mannish Boy" by Muddy Waters
*"Purple Haze" by Groove Armada
*"Lapdance" by N.E.R.D.
*"Everytime I Think of You (I Get High)" by Phreak E.D.
*"Lucky Man" by The Verve
*"Sparrows Over Birmingham" by Josh Rouse
*"Atlantis" by Donovan
*"Baba O'Riley" by The Who
*"Maybe You're Gone" by Binocular
*"One Fine Day" by Alastair Binks


In the scene-specific DVD audio commentary for the film Emile Hirsch reveals that when shooting the scene where Elisha Cuthbert forces him to strip, director Luke Greenfield wanted him to shave his chesthair but Hirsch who was 17 at the time refused because, as he himself puts it, "did not wanna shave off my manhood".The plot structure of this film draws many parallels to the 1983 Tom Cruise film, "Risky Business".


External links

* [ Official site]
*imdb title|id=0265208|title=The Girl Next Door
* [ The Girl Next Door] on Hulu

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