The Boy Next Door is a simple film based on a simple premise. The one night stand turned stalker idea has been done before and this Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Guzman lead film takes it on with a statutory rape twist. Dealing with the issues of an incredibly attractive teacher and a hot young student/neighbor is a recipe to get people in the seats but hardly makes for a film worth watching. The Lifetime television channel is pretty well known for making movies of this caliber and that is more of a compliment to Lifetime than to director Rob Cohen and everyone involved here. The story opens with newly separated Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) and her son Kevin (Ian Nelson) trying to fix a faulty garage door. When all of a sudden we are exposed to the glistening biceps of Noah Sandborn (Ryan Guzman) as he flexes to help lift this heavy object while simultaneously establishing his male dominance over the scene and our 12 year old little girl hearts; its downright laughable. From here we get some flirtatious looks between the 45 year old Claire and this 19 year old Noah. The best parts of this film are in the building up and inclusion of them getting together. Everything else is an absolute by the numbers stalker film and its a really bad version of that genre in and of itself.
When Kevin and his father go off on a camping trip for the weekend Claire and Noah flirt more openly and things go exactly where you’d think they would. The scene between them is pretty steamy and frankly Jennifer Lopez still looks like a woman in her 20s so kudos to her at the age of 45. The morning after Claire wakes up and starts making comments about how she made a mistake and it meant nothing. Noah of course is feeling the opposite and then the movie goes completely off the rails.
The Boy Next Door is never boring which is a solid plus but a movie keeping my most basic interest is hardly a reason to stand up and applaud. The dialogue is clunky and awkward. “I love your mother’s cookies…” is an actual line that makes me shudder even now as its so hamfisted and just dirtbag-esque. The movie lacks any real since of style but rather feels like its just trying to hit all the items in its checklist. When the movie moves to bringing in suspense elements you can see all the action beats coming and jump scares a mile away. There is nothing new here and you won’t get a cool new take on an old thing. To the contrary, what you will get is an failed director, aging actress, and struggling upstart working overtime to make you care about their cheap vanity project. In the end, you won't.
The performance range from mediocre to plain bad, but that's not surprising really. The script is more of the death dealer here and no amount of acting skill could say it. Again, the film works more to hit points on a checklist than to actually entertain the audience. If you were expecting X thing to happen it did. No one's career is going to be resurrected or launch from this and I really hope no one was banking on it doing so.
[easyreview title= "Review of The Boy Next Door" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="1.5" overall= false]