Girl Next Door [2004]

While it suffered a nearly unanimous beating from critics, The Girl Next Door attracted more than a few loyal defenders during its brief box-office lifespan. It pales when compared to its teen-comedy role model (the 1983 classic Risky Business), but you've got to admit that any movie about a teenager whose new next-door neighbor is a 19-year-old former porn star has bona fide cult-movie potential. To its credit, this rather schizoid blend of sleaze and comedy boasts an engaging pair of costars in Emile Hirsch (as the smitten, voyeuristic virgin) and 24's Elisha Cuthbert (as his sexy new house-sitting neighbor). And there are some good laughs in a script that takes unexpected turns when we learn that Cuthbert's character is trying to leave her porn-star past behind, to the chagrin of her pimp-like producer (Timothy Olyphant, in a scene-stealing role). Faring somewhat better than he did with the Rob Schneider non-comedy The Animal, director Luke Greenfield clearly recalls the turbulence that goes hand-in-hand with being young, horny, and confused. There's honesty and even (dare we say it?) maturity to be found in this raging-hormone fantasy, even if it's partially buried in a convoluted plot that's appalling or appealing, depending on your tolerance for good-natured prurience. --Jeff Shannon

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