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Girl Next Door, The

Director:  Luke Greenfield
Year Released:  2004
Rating:  0.5

High school honor student ogles the next-door neighbor (Elisha Cuthbert) who just happens to be a porn star and gets involved in the smut industry with some slimy types (embodied by scene-stealer Timothy Olyphant) in this bi-polar movie, which wants to be serious and comical, succeeds in neither and ends up downright depressing. Greenfield's camera is so wildly in love with Cuthbert that every scene of her in close-up is frame worthy, but he glosses over the sometimes cruel side of the industry with a Panavision sheen; it's also hyper-dependent - like most modern youth-marketed films - on musical queues to let you know how you're supposed to feel at any given time (David Gray is for romantic longing, Sloan for hedonism, The Verve for pure joy, etc.). This is not to say that pornography doesn't have its place in society - I'd be a damned hypocrite if I said that - but the context this movie places it in is inappropriate; the cop-out ending, which urges 'safety,' isn't fooling anyone.

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