The Boy Next Door
- Jennifer Lopez as Claire Peterson
- Ryan Guzman as Noah Sandborn
- John Corbett as Garrett Peterson
- Ian Nelson as Kevin Peterson
- Kristin Chenoweth as Vicky Lansing
I must say before I go into this review that I sometimes don’t mind derivative movies full of clichés. As long as they’re entertaining I can accept some of the flaws within them. The same can’t be said about The Boy Next Door, which is clichéd as hell but not at all thrilling or riveting in the slightest.
Claire Peterson is an attractive English teacher with a teenage son Kevin. She is currently in the process of contemplating divorce from her unfaithful husband Garrett. Her best friend and fellow member of school staff Vicky attempts to fix her up with various dates, but none of them are to any avail. While she is attempting to make a decision about her precarious marriage, her next door neighbour’s handsome nephew Noah Sandborn moves in. The charming Noah seems to be a nice guy who helps Kevin out with school bullies, is well versed in the literature that Claire teaches and cares for his ailing uncle. He begins to flirt with Claire, who sees it as harmless and somewhat flattering. Yet after she gives into passion and sleeps with him, events begin to take an unexpected turn. While she dismisses their sexual encounter as a mistake, the young Noah takes the situation to obsessive and terrifying heights. What started as a mistake soon grows into violent consequences as Noah descends into full-on psychosis and begins to terrorise Claire and all of the people close to her. As this reign of terror becomes more disturbing and increasingly warped, Claire must find a way to survive before it’s too late.
As mentioned earlier, I can forgive some clichéd movies with a repeating formula if they entertain me. But to say that I was entertained while watching The Boy Next Door would be a major lie. The whole thing for lack of a better word is a failure. It is supposed to be a terrifying thriller, but any thrills that I tried to conjure up where laughably bad. I can say the same thing about the script which is littered with hopelessly awful dialogue that will make you cringe more than once. Rob Cohen’s uninspired direction does the movie no favours and could have been better. This is the kind of film in which characters make ridiculous decisions that are dumb and really stretch credibility. Another thing about The Boy Next Door is that it feels at various times to just be an excuse to see Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Guzman in states of undress. The camera ogles Lopez’s curves and breasts whenever it can, while also taking in the sweaty muscles and peachy bum of Guzman in a scene in which he takes a shower with the curtains open. Not that I have anything against that, but the excessive display of flesh doesn’t make this movie any more watchable. The score attempts to be creepy with choral voices but is way off the mark.
Jennifer Lopez, when given the right material, can be a very capable actress. The opportunity to use her talent is completely wasted in this endeavour, as her character makes some really misguided decisions. She is still as sexy as ever, but her gorgeous presence can’t save this messy movie. Ryan Guzman may have some charm as Noah, he just can’t quite flex his acting muscles that convincingly when showing Noah’s obsession with Claire. Then again the character is so badly written no one could have brought any credibility to it. None of the other roles of John Corbett, Ian Nelson and Kristin Chenoweth are really memorable and are merely superfluous.
All I have left to say is avoid The Boy Next Door at all costs.