Apr 072004
 
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

You’ve probably seen her as Luke Wilson’s Lolita-like fling in

“Old School,” as Kiefer Sutherland’s daughter on the hit TV show

“24,” or as Maxim’s March cover girl, but starting Friday, you will

get to see much more of Elisha Cuthbert in the new comedy “The Girl

Next Door.”

In the movie, Emile Hirsch (“The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys”)

plays an ambitious high school senior named Matthew who is

instantly smitten with the mysterious, new girl Danielle (Cuthbert)

who just moved in next door. Love is in the air and Matthew and

Danielle soon fall for one another, but their bond is put to the

test when it is revealed that, gasp … Danielle is an ex-porn

star.

To prepare for the role, Cuthbert said that while she “didn’t

watch any porn,” she did “go through a bunch of Playboy magazines.”

She also “met a bunch of the (porn star) girls” to get the look for

her adult film star alter ego, Athena.

“The girls I met were wonderful,” Cuthbert said. “(It was)

amazing to me how confident they were and what entrepreneurs they

were. In their spare time they’re just like me and all my

girlfriends.”

As for Cuthbert’s own confidence with taking on such a sexual,

as well as leading-lady role, she said, “Luckily for me Danielle

wasn’t happy being a porn star. I feel like I knew what I wanted to

do with this movie, and what I wanted to do with the character. It

just felt right.”

Luckily her inclinations paid off because “The Girl Next Door”

is one of the best teen comedies in recent memory. The comparisons

to “American Pie” and “Risky Business” are inevitable, but the film

also has a feeling refreshingly similar to the John Hughes’ comedy

classics from the ’80s like “Weird Science” and “Ferris Bueller’s

Day Off.”

This is something that ultimately attracted the 21-year-old

actress both to the movie as well as to her surprisingly

nudity-free involvement in it.

“It reminded me of the movies that I remember watching when I

was growing up,” she said. “You watch a movie like ‘Weird Science,’

which is about two boys and their dream girl, and she never shows

her breasts, she never shows her ass and that’s ingenious.”

“The Girl Next Door” includes a memorable scene early on where

Matthew sneaks a peak at the newly arrived Danielle as she changes

her clothes in front of a window. Cuthbert thought that if she had

gotten naked, “What would there have been to look forward to for

the rest of the film?”

That’s not to say that those drooling at the thought of seeing

Cuthbert as a porn star will be disappointed. The movie earns its

R-rating with ease, but it balances the sexiness with sweetness and

does so without skipping on the laughs.

“The Girl Next Door” is likely to propel Cuthbert’s star status

as well as earn her some new admirers to vie for her affection. I’m

sorry to report, however, that Cuthbert has a boyfriend. Though

don’t let that discourage you too badly because although she may be

a famous actress, she is more than willing to date someone outside

of the Hollywood limelight.

Actually, Cuthbert said she thinks it is better and in fact, her

current boyfriend works in the music business, but is not an

artist.

Cuthbert said she feels that, “opposites attract and compliment

each other,” a belief that mirrors her own love life with that of

her character in the movie.

All this may leave all those average Joes out there wondering

how they can woo such an assumedly unattainable girl like Cuthbert.

She said that for her it’s all about the first impression.

“I think that first initial conversation is very important,” she

said. “I want to wake up the next day and think ‘Oh my God, that

guy was pretty cool.'”

Despite her fame, fortune and place in the top ten of Maxim’s

Hot 100 for 2003, Cuthbert is not so different than you or me. No,

she is not a college student, but she did say that some additional

years of schooling might be in her future.

“That’s one thing I think about at night,” she said. “I feel

like maybe at some point (college) will be in the cards for me, but

not right now.”

She is a self-proclaimed “couch potato,” enjoys listening to

Outkast, and when she does go out, she likes to dance and drink

Jack and Coke.

“I’m a Jack and Coke girl. I’m so proud of myself because I have

never once thrown up from drinking in my entire life. I’m not a

crazy drunk,”

Cuthbert recommended the children’s medicine Pedialyte as a cure

for many college students’ worst enemy, the hangover. “You just

swig that and then you are, like, boom! Fine.”

That sounds like a celebrity endorsement deal in the making to

me, but if Elisha’s star-making role in “The Girl Next Door”

propels her acting career as significantly as it very well could,

this actress will likely be bombarded with many more enticing

offers with which to occupy her time.

Movie: 3 out of 4

Rating: R

Run time: 1 hour 49 minutes

Showing at: Carmike 10 and Cinemark 16

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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