The Girl Next Door

**½

The Girl Next DoorThe only way The Girl Next Door won’t remind you of Risky Business is if you’ve somehow never seen Risky Business. While there are some genuinely funny parts, the envelope pushing seems reserved only to outdo the more outrageous teen comedies of late, not the movie it mimics. And I’m not sure it even achieves that.

In fact, I can’t think of another movie that steals a concept so blatantly, without giving it some kind of credit. Risky Business was an obvious paradigm, not just for plot, but for style and substance as well. There’s a musical narrative that’s noticable, sexual fantasy and comic innuendo abound, and there’s an existential reliance on upper-middle class coming of age to provide depth. But make no mistake about it, scene for scene, character for character; they’re all unchanged from the original movie starring Tom Cruise. It’s as if the two movies co-exist in the exact same neighborhood, only the clothes are a little different a few houses down the block.

With all that to consider, I still thought there was some good production and casting value to this movie. I was happy to see Elisha Cuthbert (the girl from 24) not playing Jack Bauer’s vulnerable daughter for once. And at times, the characters did stand out from their 80’s evil twins. It was only a few days after the movie that I really started to notice the similarities as an annoyance, but maybe that’s because I, myself, am an incurable child of that era— still waiting for Rebecca De Mornay to make her fabulous entrance.