Friday, July 29, 2005

You might want to watch out when he offers to trim your hedges: "The Girl Next Door"

File this one under "It's late, she's hot, why not?" This silly movie from last year was showing on one of the HBO channels -- HBO, HBO Comedy, Cool Ranch HBO ... I don't know. While my feelings on the leading lady, Elisha Cuthbert, were mixed -- annoying in "24," smokin' in "Old School" -- the smokin' brain cells won out, and I figured, "Hey, it's only 90 minutes or so, right?"

Well, it's actually 109 minutes, and it wasn't all bad. Oh, the movie isn't good as a whole. The premise is absurd, and any attempt to conjure genuine emotion/sympathy pretty much fails. But at least one performance was worth watching, and you sure didn't have to worry about thinking too much. Me think she pretty, me think he funny.

The story goes like so: Hot girl moves next door to high school kid, and just as they start getting close, he finds out she's a porn star. What follows is a series of events -- some of which I honestly can't remember -- in which the kid tries to get his girl out of the porn biz for good. Hey, junior ... this is the 21st century. A woman's got a right to make her own decisions, even if they involve garter belts, a trapeze and a rugby team.

Of course, things don't go smoothly for our hero, played by Emile Hirsch, who I had seen but forgot (or didn't ever care) was in "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys." He's decent here, but the do-gooder stuff wears pretty thin, pretty fast. Much better is Timothy Olyphant, playing a more lively cousin to his character in "Go," a much better movie. (He's also excellent in the HBO series "Deadwood.") Here, Olyphant plays Cuthbert's manager/ex-boyfriend, and watching him mess with Hirsch's life helped pass the time a little more quickly.

As for the real reason 99% of people (read: young men) went to this movie, Cuthbert definitely is easy on the eyes. And I guess I can see her going for this kid just because he's a nice, innocent guy and she's tired of the porn crowd. But we're not talking Meryl Streep here, and saying her range goes from A to B might be generous. Then again, why quibble with someone who enjoys a late-night swim in her underwear? I mean, really ... is that so wrong? Live and let live, I say.


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