Staff Pick

The Girl Next Door Is Classier Than You Think

By Ashley Morton

Don’t be fooled by its boy-meets-porn star premise: This 2004 movie still holds up.


Name: The Girl Next Door

Year/Director: 2004, directed by Luke Greenfield

Who You’ll Recognize: This is the film that helped kick off several careers, including those of Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild), Elisha Cuthbert (24) and Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood). Plus you’ll see some familiar HBO faces like Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood) and James Remar (Sex and the City).

Why You Should Watch: The Girl Next Door feels like an updated Risky Business: a good-natured kid falls in love and gets mixed up in a world he knows next to nothing about. It’s “Does love conquer all?” with a raunchy twist.

Why It Holds Up: A lot has changed in our social climate since teen romps like American Pie and Road Trip were box office draws. But despite its “boy savior” complex and pornography jokes, The Girl Next Door, holds up much better than those late '90s/early '00s romps. Cuthbert’s character Danielle is presented as a smart and beautiful young woman who deserves better than to be objectified; her attraction to Hirsch’s Matthew is born out of the fact that he’s not a guy just trying to get laid before prom. Even now, the movie manages to be fun and sexy but with a heart of gold.

Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes

Rating: R

Watch With: Your significant other or your friends.

In the Mood For: Romance with a humorous edge.

Best Line Out of Context: “We’re a tripod.”

Which HBO Character Would Watch: Barry would understand what it’s like to get so wrapped up in something, you feel like there’s no way out. And the Silicon Valley guys would definitely respond to the elements of “nerd” revenge.