Life + Arts Movies

There’s nothing enticing about ‘The Boy Next Door’


In her suburban home, Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) is a struggling single mom who’s trying to get her life back together. She’s teaching “the classics” to her high school English class, and she’s also trying to raise her son Kevin (Ian Nelson).

Her husband, Garrett (John Corbett), cheated on her and is no longer living with them. However, they’re not divorced, which upsets Claire’s best friend and vice principal Vicky Lansing (Kristin Chenoweth).

Things change when the handsome and helpful 20-year-old Noah Sandborn (Ryan Guzman) moves in next door. He does and says all the right things and is there for her when she’s vulnerable, leading to a hot and heavy night of dirty deeds and regrets. When she attempts to end things, she learn that Noah isn’t going to let her go so easily, even if that means terrorizing her to no end.

“The Boy Next Door” was intended to be a thriller, but it actually makes for a surprisingly great comedy. I didn’t think much of this film after watching its cringe-worthy trailer, but nothing could have prepared any of us for what we were about to witness.

This film wasn’t worth the time and effort it took to go to the theater, and though I laughed a little, it bums me out to know that this film is going to make millions, and that people will overlook much better movies than this.

Lopez gets hot and heavy with the high school junior next door, who happens to look like he’s 35. Not only are her emotions completely watered down, but her character is also transfixed with her own image when she sees her reflection. She’s manipulated by the men in her life and she never really makes her own decisions, which grows increasingly frustrating.

Our boy next door, Guzman, is actually 27 years old, and it definitely shows in the film. His teenage best-bud looks like a child in comparison, and while you could maybe believe Guzman’s youth in the beginning, all credibility goes out the window when he speaks and acts. In fact, his over-acting and out-of-the-blue descent into madness make for some of the film’s funniest moments.

Guzman’s childish innuendos got some laughs, but his best gimmick was somehow finding a first edition copy of “The Iliad” — allegedly from a garage sale. That’s our bad guy, right there.

Broadway darling Kristin Chenoweth is caked in makeup and dressed like someone she’s not supposed to play. When she’s not ridiculing Lopez for her choices with men, she’s attempting to be a vice principal that only suspends people for fracturing students’ skulls. Her recognizable high-pitched voice is oddly less annoying than her character, who runs around like a predictable victim in a thriller. She’s not smart, she’s not given anything to do and she’s always trying to teach someone a lesson.

Ian Nelson and John Corbett are okay in their roles, perhaps the only two in the film that try to be serious about their profession. It doesn’t help that director Rob Cohen and writer Barbara Curry fully embrace the stupidity of this film. Things go from cheesy to laughable in an instant, and they’re behind it 100 percent. They’re the ones to point the finger at when those Razzie Nominations call out “The Boy Next Door” for multiple categories.

“The Boy Next Door” is a joke everyone involved seems to be in on, which makes the audience’s experience a confusing one. They went into it expecting a sexy, thrilling time and instead got very little of Lopez and more of some high school-aged girl who goes next door and services our 27-year-old “young man” next door. If that doesn’t seem wrong to you, then I have nothing more to say. This is a pathetic excuse for a film that you know got green-lit in an instant. Instead, you should go see literally any other film, particularly one in the running for an Oscar.

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