Review: The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door
3 10

PLOT: JLo is a mom who found out her loving husband was cheating on her and must find a way to start over or keep her family together. Always trying to do the right thing, the lonely woman finds herself seduced by the charms of her new nineteen-year-old studly neighbor. While it was simply a night of passion for her, the young man soon becomes obsessed putting her and her family and friends at risk.

It’s been a very long time since audiences were taken in by erotic thrillers like BASIC INSTINCT on a major motion picture level. Sure you can find a number of sexually charged B-movies on “Skinimax” or on home video, but big screen entries with famous faces is unheard of nowadays. And if you look at movies like the latest from Jennifer Lopez, it's pretty obvious why. THE BOY NEXT DOOR is exactly what you would expect, although it has a few laughs thanks to some ridiculous dialogue given to JLo’s co-star, STEP UP ALL IN and STEP UP REVOLUTION star Ryan Guzman. And, apparently his obsessed and lovelorn character loves Ms. Lopez’s cookies and feels that she needs to be cherished. My goodness this is really a goofy flick.

When we first meet Claire Peterson (Lopez) she is dealing with trying to get her life back together raising her teenage son, Kevin (Ian Nelson). Her husband, Garrett (John Corbett), wasn’t faithful and so the two have temporarily separated. This brings us to her new next door neighbor, who is supposedly only a couple of years older than her son - strange because he looks like he could be at least ten years older. Noah Sandborn (Guzman) is living next door taking care of the kooky old neighbor (Jack Wallace) and comes a calling when Claire needs help with her garage. Urges being what they are and the hunky stud next door getting naked in the window late at night in full view, Claire gives into passion while her son and husband are off on a camping trip. And, yeah boy, it gets steamy. The next morning when she realizes her mistake, Noah soon reveals a darker side, letting her know that they should be together in all sorts of stalker ways.

This is a dumb movie. It’s ridiculously dumb. While I get the feeling director Rob Cohen is very aware of it, it just feels as if everybody involved took the easy route. There is nothing exciting or suspenseful, aside from whether or not JLo reveals any full on nudity. And, aside from Guzman clutching her breasts during the love scene, that is a big fat no. Of course, Guzman gets naked and shows off his rear quite a bit, including a scene with a very nude Lexi Atkins - he is trying to make the son jealous apparently, but that is never fully played out. Even the very funny Kristin Chenoweth is utterly wasted as the best pal who you know is gonna find getting into trouble.

The script credited to Barbara Curry is insultingly stupid. When Claire and Noah have their night of raw passion, it really makes little sense why the older woman would be so utterly distraught. Embarrassed for sure and certainly a little repentant, but still, she is separated from her husband and even though Guzman's character is n high school (?), he is nineteen-years-old and legal. So, maybe she would find a ton of trouble, but it would have been far more intriguing to actually have the woman happily married and delving into her lustful darkness as well. As presented, however, the second this psycho starts making threats she could have filed a restraining order, explained to the cheating husband what happened, and dealt with the consequences. I guess if that happened we wouldn’t have a movie, so there is that. Lopez's character is so insistent that she is a good girl that it only makes her choices all the more frustrating.

At least there is no denying that Ms. Lopez looks incredible here. And while not revealing as much as Guzman - or Atkins for that matter - she certainly heats up the screen at times. It’s a shame that she has no real spark when it comes to her performance. Neither as a mom to a teenage son nor as a teacher is she in the least bit credible. Not to say she is terrible, but she seems out of place in this tepid little movie. At least Guzman seemed to have a bit of fun with the awful dialogue. When he moves in with the double entendre here and there, he is clearly enjoying himself. Yet his psychotic nature seems more of a tantrum, and his evil grin is akin to a football player about to outwit the opposite team. He is nowhere near terrifying or scary. However, I’m not sure too many actors could have truly pulled off some of these zingers to any sort of success.

THE BOY NEXT DOOR is not without any charm. In fact, oftentimes it managed to bring a grin to my face. And even the sex scene was a little steamy, fun and far more erotic than expected. If only the rest of the movie had embraced the camp and didn’t rely on cheap scares that came up short. Hell, they even toss a cat at JLo at one point! Really? And what the hell happened to the old man? Of course counting the plot holes and the telegraphed frights is worthless because the entire movie is predictable with a handful of laugh out loud moments. Even at the screening I attended that was partially a fan screening, there was nary a cheer when Claire gets tough; just scattered snickers. There are moments of sexy, and moments of crazy, but as a whole THE BOY NEXT DOOR is not worth paying a visit.

Source: JoBlo.com



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