The Boy Next Door is a predictably crappy piece of schlock disguised as a thriller, but it may also be the funniest film of the year thus far and that has to count for something.
Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) is a literature teacher at a local high school. She’s having some marital problems with her philandering husband, Garrett (John Corbett), while her high school-aged son, Kevin (Ian Nelson), is having trouble with bullies and talking to girls. Enter Noah (Ryan Guzman), the titular boy next door, who has moved in with his ailing uncle (Jack Wallace). Of course, Noah is perfect. He loves the classics, he’s good looking, mechanically inclined, and he can fight. Oh, and wonder of wonders, he’s almost twenty and still in high school due to some fuzzy math. He also just happens to go to Claire’s school. One night, the two have dinner and Noah expresses his love for Claire. After she says “No” about thirty-two times, she lets the kid have sex with her. She immediately calls it a mistake and he is instantly obsessed as if she’s the first woman he’s ever slept with. Claire now has to try and protect her career, family, and possibly her life.
This movie was absolutely hilarious and I know it’s not supposed to be. The script, by Barbara Curry is the worst kind of schlock full of predictability and a collection of scenes that happen and are then never referenced again. It’s a real hack job and Director Rob Cohen does the best he can with it. There is no way to take this film seriously, but everyone plays it dead straight, no matter how stupid it gets.
The sad part is, there probably was a good erotic thriller here, but the script and direction play it too safe. Lopez was a producer on this film and you have to wonder if she had a hand in toning this thing down so that her character comes off as well as possible. Why not have Claire be an active participant in the affair and then have her break it off? Even that minor change would have validated Noah’s craziness a little more.
I don’t know why Lopez acts anymore, because she’s not very good at it. Her best role is still 1998’s Out of Sight and everything since then has only shown her limitations. She’s still very beautiful though, and the sex scene is actually pretty hot, even though the audience doesn’t get to see anything. Guzman is ridiculous as Noah. This guy is nearly thirty and he’s playing a 19-year-old. He nails the crazed psycho angle, though, and I feel that it is probably more the incompetence of the script that hinders him. Still, I think I would have rather seen Luis Guzmán in the role. Only Kristin Chenoweth as Claire’s best friend and high school vice principal, Vicky, seems to be in on the joke, but her role as the blatant comic relief is overdone.
Overall, The Boy Next Door is a terrible movie, but I almost feel it falls into the so bad it’s good pile. I laughed my ass off at this piece of crap. There are no thrills here, just inept filmmaking. It will surely be rewarded next year at the “Razzies,” but for me, it’s the best comedy of the year so far.