**/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras B+
starring Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, James Remar
screenplay by Stuart Blumberg and David T. Wagner & Brent Goldberg
directed by Luke Greenfield
by Walter Chaw Though it reminds a great deal of Paul Brickman's Risky Business, The Girl Next Door reminds all the more that there's really only one Paul Brickman, and while this picture sustains the sleazy wish-fulfillment of Risky Business for a good long run, it can't replicate the same kind of insouciant rebellion. The exercise feels forced in a way that Risky Business doesn't, the earlier film's ease owing mostly to Brickman but also to another of Tangerine Dream's definitive Eighties scores and, perhaps, the bestial liquid chemistry between Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay--a chemistry that's never quite replicated by a very fine Emile Hirsch and the very fine Elisha Cuthbert. Without the reckless air of youth on the verge, The Girl Next Door starts to feel like calculated imitation, becoming affected and, eventually, what a teenage sex comedy can't be: restrained. Its bark is worse than its bite, and in the end, only its premise is subversive.