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The Girl Next Door is a 2004 American teen romantic comedy film directed by Luke Greenfield, starring Elisha Cuthbert, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant and Paul Dano.

The film centers around Matthew Kidman (Hirsch), an honor student who falls in love for the first time with his beautiful new next-door neighbor Danielle (Cuthbert), but finds the situation becoming complicated after he learns that she is a former porn star.

Not to be confused with the 2007 film of the same name based on Jack Ketchum's novel The Girl Next Door.


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This film contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Bi: April and Ferrari flirt with the boys but seem to be romantically or at least sexually involved off-camera, as shown when they kiss in the limo.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Eli loudly performs heterosexuality but is very uncomfortable being sexual with women in practice. He also seems to get off on watching porn with his male friends, even getting touchy with with Klitz at one point.
  • Auto Erotica: Matt and Danielle have their first time in the back of a limo.
  • Badass Fingersnap: Kelly bursts into Matthew's physics classroom, and instantly silences his teacher with a snap and glare in his direction.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After Danielle catches Matthew peeping, she marches over and has a brief off-camera conversation with his parents. His father calls for Matthew to come downstairs, twice, and asks what he was doing in his room, in a pretty impatient tone...but turns out to just be volunteering Matthew to show Danielle around town.
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  • Bait-and-Switch Character Intro: Mule first appears to be a tough guy who's about to react violently to hearing that Eli and Klitz would "use" his girl. But as soon as he hears they're porn directors, he becomes an enthusiastic advocate for hiring her, even offering for them to "give her a throw". It's double subverted in the end when he discovers they're in high school, and lives up to his "violently overprotective" vibe after all.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: When Matthew and Danielle share their first kiss. Matthew just takes charge and kisses Danielle; everything slows downs and they got lost in the moment.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Eli tells an audience member to "shut the FUCK up, next question!" when challenged on his age and inexperience in the Q&A he's doing in the epilogue.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Klitz is self-conscious about his looks for most of the film, which makes public acknowledgement of his "huge" penis especially satisfying.
  • Black Comedy: During the making of the sex ed video, one porn star says she lost her virginity at prom, then asks the other when she lost hers. She quietly replies that she was 10, then there's an awkward silence before they abruptly move on.
  • The Cameo: WWE wrestler Luther Reigns as a man at the porn convention.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Matthew refuses to watch Danielle's porn movies or sleep with her just for the hell of it, because he's genuinely in love with her.
  • The Casanova: Kelly seems pretty successful at this, although he may tend to go after low-hanging fruit, first flirting with some high school girls, then the middle-aged bank teller who handles Matthew's fundraising project. "This guy's unbelievable," as Matthew comments. He also used to date Danielle.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • An abysmal sex education video from (apparently) the 1950s makes the heroes wonder why it's never been updated. What saves the day for them in the end? Eli directing a modern, topical, and engrossing sex education video.
    • The drawing Danielle makes Matthew when they first meet. He eventually uses it to convince her how he really sees her.
  • Cringe Comedy: The segment where Matthew is briefly convinced by Eli to act like an asshole to try to seduce Danielle is kind of funny in its clumsiness, and Danielle is even amused a few times, but ultimately it's very awkward to watch.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Matthew gives his big damn improvised speech, after having his favorite quote stolen by his rival Ryan and being too drugged to give the one he'd prepared. It even earns a standing ovation, despite the cursing. Then Ryan wins the scholarship anyway.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When Matthew sees Danielle for the first time, he walks into a trash can and knocks it over.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Played with. Danielle forces Matthew to strip naked and then steals his underwear, forcing him to run after the car fully nude. On the one hand she only did it because he watched her undress (and she didn't tell his parents) but on the other, would a man forcing a teenage girl to do this be Played for Laughs?
  • Do You Want to Copulate?:
    • Danielle basically asks this of Matthew, once she realizes he's treating her like a sex worker and seems resigned to go along with it.
    • An extremely bubbly porn star at the convention, thinking Eli and Klitz are directors, encourages them to "try me out!"
  • Establishing Character Music: The movie has an extensive soundtrack, and character introductions are no exception.
    • Danielle gets a dreamlike sequence as she walks from her car to her aunt's house set to "The Killing Moon".
    • Hardcore punk track "Break Down the Walls" by Youth of Today plays as the camera takes in its first shots of Kelly striking a very intimidating pose in a wifebeater.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Sam Yung for some reason
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: The sexy outlandish adult film actress Danielle has curly blond hair.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Matthew earns enough money to pay back the Sam Yung fund, the sex-ed videos put Eli's career as a filmmaker on the map, and Danielle is finally able to escape her porn career.
  • Fanservice: There are more than a few nude and nearly nude attractive women in this movie.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: The last shot freezes in the middle of a kiss, then fades out.
  • Funny Background Event: While the guys are debating who will do a difficult scene, April can be seen idly blowing into a condom, and appears to have already tied one into a balloon.
  • Gilligan Cut: Matthew telling Daniel he is not taking his clothes off. It cuts to him standing in his underwear.
  • Girl Next Door: Referenced by title but ultimately averted; Danielle is a porn actress played by Elisha Cuthbert and only just met Matthew.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: When Matthew imagines Danielle making out with his mother, and later with her two friends in the limousine.
  • Graceful Loser: Once Kelly finds out that Matthew was making a sex-ed film that his parents and principal approved of instead of a raunchy porno, Kelly smiles while realizing he has no cards left to play to steal Matthew's money.
  • Happily Ever After: The Sealed with a Kiss ending for Matthew and Danielle makes this such.
  • Hate Sink: Kelly is Danielle's ex-boyfriend and manager from the porn industry. At first he seems charming, but after Danielle leaves the industry for good because of Matt, Kelly retaliates by twice assaulting him, and tries to ruin his life by setting him up as the fall guy for theft, as well as stealing all the money Matthew raised for a charity, and finally a bungled attempt to ruin his image by showing his family a "porn video" Matthew and his friends made which turns out to be a sex education tape.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: Eli does a twist on this where he talks a big game about wanting to have sex all the time and how he would've done it, but when the opportunity actually comes up to either touch a porn star's breast or film a sexual scene with April, he gets nervous and makes excuses not to. (In both cases, Klitz does it instead.)
  • Imagine Spot: Matthew does this a few times.
    • He imagines a disaster scenario resulting in the security guard being killed if he tried to ditch school.
    • After Matthew finds out that Danielle used to be a porn star, he has a Brain Bleach version of the trope when he imagines her making out with both his parents in front of him. Although that doesn't stop him from picturing her naked and having sex with him a few minutes later.
    • He imagines Sam Yung and his mother cursing a lot more than in their past communications, in reaction to his losing all the money.
    • Another disaster scenario near the end when he imagines the video production getting caught.
  • Implausible Deniability: During the gang's post-mortem of Matthew's attempt to date Danielle, Eli smirks that bringing her to a motel "was a little forward", despite being the one to convince Matthew to try it, then acts oblivious at Matt's incredulous reaction.
  • Ironic Echo: "It's like a gift, you know? It's like I can't control it..."
    • It's not emphasized, but Matthew explains his attempt to extremely awkwardly seduce Danielle with "just chillin'", the same response she gave after bringing him to a party he had no interest in.
    • When Matthew first meets Kelly, Kelly asks what he wants to do later in life, to which Matthew responds that he wants to be president. Kelly tells him that the first rule of being a politician is to make sure "the juice is worth the squeeze." At the end of the film, as Kelly prepares to shoot a very low budget porno movie, he opens a cigar box from Matthew with a note that reads "the juice was worth the squeeze," causing him to smile.
    • One of the jocks tries to eject Matthew from a house party by saying it's getting too full, and he has to go. Later Matthew uses the same line to reject him from the porn/sex ed video shoot.
  • Jaded Professional: Mr. Salinger, Matthew's principal, does still try to do his job, but he doesn't seem too upbeat about it.
    "The hell with it. The kids today are so god damn screwed up, maybe this is the only way you can reach 'em."
  • Jerkass: Danielle's ex, Kelly.
  • Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: It's easy for Matthew to fall into this when his beautiful neighbor leaves her shades open while changing. Also what the title is referring to rather than the Girl Next Door trope, which is not present.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Danielle comes off this way initially, and certainly has this effect on Matthew. However she herself is more complex and pragmatic than she first appears.
  • Mood Whiplash: Kelly tends to cause this, unpredictably veering between smirkingly friendly and not-playing-anymore scary. Most prominently, he goes from seemingly pressuring Matthew to give him a blowjob, to laughing about how he was just kidding, to punching Matthew in the head, in the space of about 10 seconds.
  • Not What It Looks Like: The tape that Matthew, Danielle and the others filmed on prom night. It was a sex-ed video, not porn.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Danielle subverts this once it's revealed that she wants to escape that life. Notably for a film with a lot of explicit nudity, she is never shown fully nude.
    • Danielle's porn star friends April and Ferrari fit the trope more, both in the context of the film and in-universe. They both show full nudity and at one point they make out in front of the boys even off-camera.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: While this isn't explicit in the film, the director's commentary mentions that Matthew is losing his virginity during his and Danielle's first time.
  • Official Couple: Matthew and Danielle.
  • Orbital Kiss: The Big Damn Kiss.
  • Phrase Catcher: Danielle elicits "Dude..." "I know" at least three times among guys who witness her. Once each upon being introduced to Eli and Klitz in a wet T-shirt, and again between the two of them when Matthew goes for his Big Damn Kiss.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Kelly expresses casually racist views towards Asian people.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When Matthew's parents ask Eli if his and Klitz's porn star prom dates go to their school, Eli just says "no...they're porn stars", and everybody laughs.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Matthew and Danielle end the movie with a kiss.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Invoked by Danielle who turns up on Klitzy's doorstep with a damp blouse (from being in the pool). "I'm all wet, can I come in?"
  • Sex Miseducation Class: The sex education film that the school uses seemed to have been made sometime in the 1950s' and warns of the dangers of premarital sex. Later, when Kelly shows up at Matthew's house to show the movie, he and Danielle's friends filmed at the high school to his parents and the principal, it features Danielle's porn star friends narrating an actual sex-ed video that is more relevant to the modern day.
  • Shameful Strip: Light-hearted example when Danielle forces Matthew to strip in public in front of her, as punishment for spying on her changing. And then she steals his underwear and drives away. (But only briefly.)
  • Shout-Out: Eli coaches Ferrari for her porn/sex ed video shoot by reminding her "think Meryl Streep, Sophie's Choice."
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Kelly's introduction is an aggressive rock-backed sequence of shots highlighting Tim Olyphant's sharply dressed lower half contrasting with his wifebeater-clad torso, muscular tattooed arms and Perma-Stubble and all. It rivals Danielle's introduction for hammering home a first impression, and would almost qualify as Female Gaze if not for the fact that it's Matthew's point of view and leans more toward "intimidating" than "sexy". Or at least, intimidating in addition to sexy.
  • Slow Clap: Downplayed after Matthew's improvised scholarship speech about not being a fucking boy scout and fighting for something(someone) where the juice is worth the squeeze, there's only scattered applause in the first few moments, but more and more people join in until there's a standing ovation.
  • Slow-Motion Drop: Well, it's a Solo cup, so it doesn't actually shatter when it hits the grass, but Danielle drops her beer when Matthew finally works up the nerve to give her The Big Damn Kiss, and the camera does watch it slosh around in slow motion.
  • Smug Snake: Kelly.
  • Spiky Hair: Kelly. Notably when he's pretending to be a less-shady character in front of Matthew's parents, his hair is slicked down.
  • Stage Names: Danielle's porn star name is Athena.
  • Their First Time: Matthew and Danielle have sex for the first time in a limo. In the director's commentary, Luke Greenfield describes it as follows: "This scene. My first love scene I have ever shot. Was a scene of loss of innocence. Matthew's losing his virginity and Danielle's making love for the very first time."
  • Throwing Out the Script: Matthew appears to do this, but it's a subversion. While it appears this way to the audience (who think he's incredibly sweet), he actually has nothing written down. He'd been too busy slacking off (and, in fairness, falling in love and learning life lessons) to write the speech.
  • Threat Backfire: Ever since Danielle started getting friendly with Matthew, Kelly warned him not to steal his top performer or he would make him regret it. Near the end, Kelly finds out that they, Matthew's friends from school, and Danielle's porn star friends made a movie, and he shows up at Matthew's house to show the film they made in school to his parents and the principal. It works out at the end since the movie was a comprehensive sex ed video that was more in tune to the modern day, as opposed to the original film which was at least fifty years old, and warned of the dangers of premarital sex. The principal decides they will use Matthew's video, and he also makes a fortune when he signs a deal with a competing porn studio to distribute the video.
  • Title Drop: Early on, said by Matthew on the phone to Eli, to clarify (in a bit of ironic Foreshadowing) that he is not watching dirty movies but rather a girl in real life. At the end, Matthew's final answer to the yearbook fill-in-the-blank "I will always remember..."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: It's actually a while before Danielle is revealed to be a porn star in the film, but none of the marketing makes any secret of it.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Daniele and Matthew have one by sneaking into a neighbor's backyard. It gets ruined when the homeowner returns home. And is Matthew's school principal.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "Is this what you think of me?"
  • Whip Pan: Matthew grabs the adult film award in Hugo's house and turns to leave, glancing over Hugo's kitchen, sculpture, nearly naked man, plant, parrot...then whips back to look at Hugo staring at him wearing nothing but his briefs.
  • Worthy Opponent: When Kelly finally runs out of cards to play, he silently acknowledges Matt as this with a smile.

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