Starring Jennifer Lopez and directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious and xXx), The Boy Next Door is an ˜erotic’ psychological thriller revolving around high school teacher Claire (Lopez), whose recent divorce and strained relationship with her child have left her in emotional tatters.
When a new neighbour moves in next-door, 17-year-old Noah (Ryan Guzman), she instantly falls for his charms and they end up having a one-night stand. When she tells him it was a mistake and it won’t be happening again, Noah develops an obsession around her, stalking her and letting her know that he won’t be letting go that easily.
Let’s not beat around the bush here “ The Boy Next Door is absolutely terrible. The reason that came so early in the review is that we need time to examine all the very different types of terrible this film embodies, and there are many. First of all, let’s start with the low hanging fruit “ Jennifer Lopez is not a very good actress. When she tries to emote she look strained and stilted and she delivers her lines like she’s reading off of cue cards. Regarding the performances, Ryan Guzman is also abysmal, trying desperately to pull off Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction but failing horribly. This role could have worked really well if played by someone who could believably do crazy, but Guzman is not that actor.
The Boy Next Door‘s basic plot fails at every single hurdle, not least the overblown and overly violent climax. Why Claire didn’t go to the police the minute he started stalking her is left completely unanswered, and despite there later being given a reason as to why she couldn’t tell the cops to arrest him, that later gets resolved and she still doesn’t go to the police! Every twist involving every character ends up being some kind of gaping plot hole that swallows the entire film in a horrific black hole of stupidity.
The entire movie feels cheap and budgetless, despite the fact it cost $14 million, and the whole affair has a Lifetime TV-movie vibe. Even down to the casting in which we’re supposed to buy that Ryan Guzman, who is 27 and looks about 30, is actually a 17-year-old high school student. There’s casting above their age and then there’s casting someone who is literally ten years older than their part.
Even with all the fascinating and in-depth levels of bad there is in The Boy Next Door, it still ends up being dreadfully boring. It feels about double it’s 85 minute length, and the thin plot is padded so much you begin to lost track of what the ridiculous story even is.