The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2004
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 109 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, James Remar, Chris Marquette, Paul Dano
Directed by: Luke Greenfield
Music by: Paul Haslinger
Written by: Stuart Blumberg, David T. Wagner, Brent Goldberg
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 1, 2009
"Matt never saw her comingbut all his friends had!"
The girl next door is a tongue-wagging, sexy comedy that centers on hot, blond, and mysterious new neighbor, Danielle, and Matthew Kidman, the straight-laced overachiever with political aspirations who falls in love with her. When Matthew discovers his perfect "girl next door" is a former porn star, his sheltered existence spins out of control.
Matthew Kidman (Hirsch) is a high school senior who dreams of being president one day. He has recently been accepted to Georgetown University, but can only go if he wins a scholarship and the competition is stiff. The scholarship winner will be determined by each of them writing and reading a speech before the college committee. Matthew is having a hard time finding anything truly memorable about his high school experience until one day when he comes home to find the beautiful Danielle (Cuthbert) has moved in next door. She is house sitting for his neighbors and Matthew is immediately smitten by her gorgeous looks and hot body. The two meet one evening after Danielle catches Matthew staring at her from his bedroom window. She is drawn to his innocence and awkward but honest demeanor and they hit it off. At school Matthew and his close friends Eli (Marquette) and Klitz (Dano) have no trouble with their studies but do find it hard fitting in. Eli is a big fan of the ladies and talks a big game, but has yet to score any quality time with them. Klitz is introverted and insecure around girls and would just as soon play things close to the vest. Eli spends his free time working in the school A/V section and at home watching porn. Matthew has spent the school year raising money ($25,000) to bring a Cambodian student named Samnang to the states for the opportunity to go to school. Things get dicey when Matthew discovers through Eli that Danielle was up until recently an adult film actress under the stage name "Athena". This is further compounded when her ex-associate Kelly (Olyphant) shows up and wants her to return to the world of making adult movies. Kelly's arrival sets the stage for a series of life changing events for Matthew, Danielle, Eli, and Klitz that results in wildly funny and entertaining romantic teen comedy.
Prior to this review I had never seen The girl next door. I remember when it was being released in theaters and to me it seemed like a typical T&A filled teen comedy that looked rather uninteresting. After watching it I am not ashamed to admit that I was wrong for jumping to conclusions. While it may be a typical teen comedy it is far from being the raunchy, in your face and simplistic style humor that we have seen from some of the more recent teen comedies to come down the pike. Conceptually this isn't original but I liked its take and thought that the characters had a fresh appeal that added to the fun. Hirsch, Dano, and Marquette were largely responsible for this as they captured the essence of these all for one and one for all friends who relied upon one another and thought of themselves as the three legs in a tripod. Elisha Cuthbert certainly had no trouble playing the hot, blond bombshell type who falls for the handsome, needy and lovable stupid/smart guy. I have yet to see Timothy Olyphant in a role that I didn't like and this was no different. He is quintessential bad guy that you can't help but find likeable. Kelly reminded be very much of the character he played in Go. Olyphant is a master scene stealer and provides some truly memorable moments in this movie. Don't get me wrong, The girl next door isn't classic filmmaking and yes its subject is a little edgy, but it is a fun and laugh out loud romantic teen comedy that turned out to be much better than I expected.
This unrated version contains nudity, sexual content, language and thematic material that make it unsuitable for younger viewers.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The girl next door comes to Blu-ray from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 mbps.
Having never seen this film prior to this review I have no frame of reference however having seen and reviewed hundreds of films on Blu-ray I found this presentation to be disappointing. Unstable contrast levels result in distorted and occasionally blown out whites that lack detail and dimension. Brightness levels are elevated which leaves blacks flat and lifeless. Shadow detail is fairly strong which helps enhance depth during segments filmed in low or uneven lighting. The color palette contains a good variety of bright hues and shades that appear natural but lack vibrancy and pop. Flesh tones appear inorganic/bland one moment and noticeably pinkish the next which I found distracting. Resolution is fair however fine detail perception is inconsistent and results in some scenes appearing soft and on occasion muddled. Definition during close ups is scene dependent, looking delineated with appreciable refinement one moment and smooth and lacking resolvable texture the next. Grain is present in uneven waves that go from shimmering and moderately heavy to barely perceptible. This all made for a presentation that seemed unusual and far removed from the strongest catalog release titles we have seen on Blu-ray. The lossless audio presentation fares better as it renders the soundtrack's elements well. Dialogue is reproduced with aplomb and sounds excellent throughout. Dynamics are punchy and give the music and busier scenes plenty of energy and depth. Surround sound use isn't constant but is apropos and at times enveloping. Lower bass response comes in the form of the pulse pounding beat of the film's music and sounds great.
- Commentary by Director Luke Greenfield
- Scene specific commentary by Emile Hirsch
- Scene specific commentary by Elisha Cuthbert
- The Eli Experience - features Chris Marquette in character on tour with his entourage - 8 minutes
- A look next door - Behind the scenes look at making The girl next door - 10 minutes
- Gag reel - 2 minutes
- 16 Deleted/Extended scenes
- The girl next door trailer Dirrrty
This is my first experience with The girl next door and I have to admit that I found it to be an enjoyable one that I look forward to again in the future. Unfortunately for fans its high definition presentation on Blu-ray disc is a disappointment that may not make for much of an upgrade over DVD. If you like this film but never got around to picking it up then this is probably the one to get as it offers good lossless sound and the same bonus features as the 2004 unrated DVD release.
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