September 20, 2004

Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

Sometimes, a movie comes along that looks like it will follow one track, you hear some positive word-of-mouth, and then when you see it, you are knocked back by its charm, its grace, and...well, you're surprised how good it is.

Admittedly, I only saw The Girl Next Door for one reason, and one reason alone - Elisha Cuthbert. However, my expectations about this movie, especially its premise - "good guy falls in love with porn star next door" - were raised when it quickly became the Risky Business for the Generation Y set. I kid you not.

It hits all of the same points - good guy, bad girl with a heart of gold, well-meaning friends, seedy guy with interest in bad girl, questionable business venture - but instead of taking these and turning them into another teen comedy, Luke Greenfield turns it into a solid coming-of-age film.

Granted, it does have its cheap laughs - for example, Mitchell's two friends are porn-loving Eli and a guy named "Klitz". (I am not making that up, folks) However, this movie very cleverly straddles the line between comedy and drama. There are serious consequences, and there's no last minute reprises. (A crucial scene late in the movie - and the aftereffects - were extremely convincing). This movie ultimately asks whether taking huge interpersonal risks - mostly for love, but mainly in general - is worth the ultimate rewards. In other words, is the juice worth the squeeze?

A somewhat sentimental proposition in this time of moral relativism, but it does suggest that great risks are worth great rewards.

In other words, squeeze this, pal, and see for yourself.

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