The Girl Next Door appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. A few problems popped up, but the transfer usually seemed solid.
Sharpness varied somewhat. Softness never turned into a major issue, as most of the movie came across as concise and detailed. However, I thought a few shots were less well defined than I expected. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but I noticed some light edge enhancement. No forms of print defects showed up during the movie.
Colors tended toward the bright end of a natural palette. The tones occasionally looked a little dense, but they usually appeared reasonably vivid and distinctive. Blacks were acceptably deep and dense, but shadow detail tended to be somewhat heavy. Low-light shots occasionally came across as a bit thick, though they weren’t terribly opaque. Enough positive occurred to bolster the image to a “B”, but it earned an inconsistent “B”.
One can’t expect much from the audio of a comedy, and The Girl Next Door followed suit with a predictably adequate soundtrack. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix presented a soundfield that maintained a heavy bias toward the front speakers. Those channels showed positive stereo imaging for the score and songs as well as a nice sense of ambience. However, it rarely went beyond that, as the track stayed with general atmosphere most of the time. The surrounds added little, though the music expanded into them more actively than usual. Otherwise they largely just bolstered the information from the front.
Audio quality was fine. Speech remained consistently intelligible and natural, and I noticed no issues with edginess. Effects played a small role but came across as accurate and firm, with no distortion or other issues. Music was the most positive aspect of the mix. The songs and score were always bright and lively, and they showed nice low-end response. Nothing much about the audio stood out, but it seemed more than adequate for this sort of movie.
We get a mix of extras from The Girl Next Door. On side one of the disc, we launch with an audio commentary from director Luke Greenfield, who offers a running, screen-specific discussion. Greenfield proves to be very chatty, as he yaks almost non-stop during this piece. Unfortunately, not a ton of great information pops up in it. Much of the time Greenfield just tells us how great everyone was and how much he likes various sequences. This happy talk gets old fast.
Frustrations stem from the positive parts of the track, as Greenfield occasionally becomes insightful. He lets us know about the writing process, with an emphasis on the way he envisions music use in the flick. We also learn a mix of casting and production details as well as changes made for the uncut version. Some good information appears, but the prevalence of Greenfield’s praise makes this an erratic commentary.
Side One also includes a trivia track. Entitled “Revealing the Girl Next Door”, it presents tidbits related to the movie. Sometimes these reflect parts of the film itself such as behind the scenes information or biographical notes about the participants, but much of the time we learn about issues connected to the flick. For example, we get facts about the porno business and hear the etymology of various words. This track seems reasonably informative and fun; it’s not one of the best subtitle commentaries I’ve seen, but it provides a fair amount of useful notes.
When we head to side two, we open with scene-specific commentary. Actor Emile Hirsch chats over four scenes for a total of eight minutes, 40 seconds, while actor Elisha Cuthbert talks over five segments for 12 minutes, 45 seconds. Hirsch meanders through his conversation as he presents mostly generic remarks about the shoot and the story. Cuthbert offers stronger information, as she discusses her attitude toward nudity, her approach to the character, and various elements of the shoot. Cuthbert’s track merits a listen, but you can skip Hirsch’s bland chat.
In The Eli Experience, we take seven minutes and 55 seconds to watch actor Chris Marquette go to a real adult film convention in character. Along with some others, the play pranks on the attendees in this silly and not terribly amusing program.
For a more standard featurette, A Look Next Door goes for nine minutes and 50 seconds. It uses the usual mix of movie snippets, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from Greenfield, Hirsch, Cuthbert, screenwriter Stuart Blumberg, Marquette, producers Charles Gordon and Marc Sternberg, executive producer Guy Riedel, production designer Stephen Lineweaver, and actors Timothy Olyphant, James Remar and Paul Dano. They go through casting and characters, the director, various story points, and sets and locations. It’s a bland and generic program that does little more than puff up the flick.
The Gag Reel goes for two minutes, 45 seconds, as it presents the usual array of errors and giggles. 16 Deleted and Extended Scenes appear, with a total running time of 10 minutes, 55 seconds. As one might expect due to their brevity, little of consequence appears here. None of the additions seem memorable or useful, even with an alternate ending. We can watch the clips with or without commentary from Greenfield. He gives us basic production notes and explains why he cut the sequences. The one-word answer for most? “Timing”.
To finish off the set, we get a collection of 39 pictures in the Still Gallery. We see a few behind the scenes shots, but most of them offer images from the film. The Trailers domain presents ads for Girl plus Club Dread, There’s Something About Mary and a general DVD promo reel.
The Girl Next Door doesn’t offer a story. It presents a series of complications poured on complications piled on complications added onto complications. This never-ending stream occasionally provides some amusing bits, but the flick wears out its welcome before long. The DVD presents good but not great picture and audio plus a broad and sporadically interesting set of extras. An inconsistent flick, Girl doesn’t provide a very positive expansion of its genre and it only musters moderate entertainment.