I'm wondering what the general consensus here is for an absolute no frills mountain bike, baseline components. Basically, how low can I go in terms of components/price for a entry level mountain bike used primarily for recreation/commuting?

I do a lot of road riding and currently commute with a fixed gear, but in an effort to get my gf out riding with me, I'm considering picking up a couple mountain bikes. I'm looking at hardtails but know very little about mountain bike components and was hoping someone could steer me towards something on bikesdirect.com that would be reliable and a good base to get into the sport but again would be relatively cheap.