The Boy Next Door Review
By Staci Layne Wilson
On a scale of one to Gigli, Jennifer Lopez’s latest cinematic sortie is off the charts. The Boy Next Door – the titular “boy” being a full grown, 27-year old Abercrombie and Fitch model (Ryan Guzman) – starts off with an opening title sequence that’s so cheesy, even Wisconsin would collectively blush. Things get worse from there.
Or better, depending on your POV. If you love insanely over the top lusty Lifetime Originals and are a bona fide true crime junkie who can’t get enough of stalker stories, love gone wrong, and kids who kill, then you’ll want to borrow a cup of sugar from The Boy Next Door.
Here’s the lowdown on this tawdry tale: High school teacher and mom Claire (Jennifer Lopez) is hanging by a thread (of lacy black lingerie), thanks to her cheating hubby (John Corbett) and is trying to raise her bullied teenaged son (Ian Nelson) alone. When her automatic garage door mechanism breaks and it looks like life has reached its lowest point, her chivalrous (and chiseled) new neighbor Noah (Ryan Guzman) swoops in to save the day. It’s lust at first sight. At first the two seduce and spy; he likes to undress with the curtains open – giving a whole new meaning to the words ‘rear window’, while she plies him with milk and cookies, prompting Noah to declare to her son, “I just love your mom’s cookies!”. Then when it’s clear Noah is way too hot for teacher, she panics and puts him back in the friend zone. Not a good idea, as Noah goes from teacher’s pet to Claire’s worst nightmare.
It’s not meant to be a comedy but there’s more laughs in The Boy Next Door than all three Hangover movies put together. Early on, Noah presents Claire with a present: a hardcover of the Greek epic “The Iliad” by Homer. “Oh, a first edition!” Claire squeals. Hmmm… “The Iliad” was written in the eighth century B.C. That’s not the only package he gives her, but the rest of his gifts aren’t so nice. Once Noah goes all Fatal Attraction on Claire, she loses several I.Q. points. In a scene during which she finds herself alone in a dark and spooky house, she uses her phone as a flashlight instead of using it to call the cops. When she’s cornered in public by her seriously unstable stalker, she quietly takes in his threats rather than loudly screaming for help. And the pièce de résistance is when she discovers Noah recorded their sexual tete-a-tete and she never once considers the Cloud; she simply breaks into his house to erase the evidence off his laptop and thinks that’s that.
I’m not gonna lie. I enjoyed this instant camp classic. J-Lo and the boy-toy are an eyeful (and yes, it’s R-rated… plenty o’flesh), the supporting cast are good (Corbett is always welcome, and Kristen Chenoweth’s chops are never at issue), there’s a sweet hotrod (a sleek Dodge Challenger), and of course arch dialogue to die for.
That doesn’t necessarily make The Boy Next Door a good movie, and I certainly can’t recommend you shell out your hard-earned greenbacks just to see Guzman’s hard body in the all-together. You’ll be glad you read The Boy Next Door review, and waited for VOD, so you can watch it alone and no one will know.