Since I started with a teen movie, I'll end with a teen movie. By my personal definition, I have five of these on Jordyn's Canonical List of Favorite Movies. Sadly, the one I will be writing about today is sort of on the chopping block. Meaning, the last time I watched it, I was a bit underwhelmed. Perhaps this post will help me sort through those issues.
The Girl Next Door (2004)
I was seventeen when I first saw this movie. My best friend Ashley's little brother (fifteen at the time) rented it. Being a fan of raunchy teen sex comedies, I was completely game. Plus, that prom king I was in love with said I would really like it. (Note: This is the only film recommendation he ever gave me, so I jumped at the chance!)
Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) is a straight A over-achiever with political aspirations, but not a nerd. His high school career has been pretty boring, with his nights alternating between studying and hanging out with his nerdy friends Eli (Chris Marquette) and Klitz (Paul Dano). However, Matthew's world is turned upside down when the smokin' hot Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) moves in next door. The two begins a friendship-bordering-on-relationship. However, things become complicated when Matthew discovers that Danielle was once a porn star.
I can tell you the exact reason why I liked this movie back in high school and college: Matthew was one of those really nice, well-meaning guys who was torn between his sexual desire and his morals. I respected that, but I knew how absolutely fictional it was. Any normal guy would jump at the chance to screw a porn star, right? I too was lost in the romance of Matthew's struggle. And it is a beautiful pay off. It's not until the end that they consummate their love in one of my favorite cinematic sex scenes ever!
So what's my problem now? Straight up jealousy. If nice guys like Matthew are going after porn stars, what chance do nice girls like me have? None. It makes me bitter. There, I said it. In the film's defense, they did a good job of showing Danielle as a normal, likable girl and not just some sex-crazed whore. Although they never touch on why exactly she became a porn star in the first place. (Knowing the stories of many actual porn stars, I doubt it's pleasant).
What we have here is a male adolescent fantasy. The best of both worlds; the freak in the sheets and the lady in streets. Just like Taylor Swift's music videos and John Hughes's movies give teenage girls an unrealistic view of love, The Girl Next Door gives an unrealistic portrayal of teen sex for boys. But just because Some Kind of Wonderful is equally improbable, does that mean I'm going to take it off my list? Hell no. I should just shut the fuck up. The Girl Next Door has much more to offer than its naivety; great editing for one. It's also much more complex than you would originally conceive it to be. Promise me, it's no American Pie.
Plus, Emile Hirsch is hot.