Director: Rob Cohen
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Kristin Chenoweth, John Corbett, Ian Nelson


I somehow missed the trailer for the latest Jennifer Lopez film, The Boy Next Door. Apparently I should have watched it as it would have prepared me for the CLASSIC line “I love your mom’s cookies.” That is just one example of the sheer camp factor on display here. She plays Claire Peterson, a high school literature teacher going through a separation from her husband (Corbett). She would like him back and is not ready to move on despite that fact that he cheated on her. If only she would listen to the advice of her fun and sassy best friend Vicky (Chenoweth) who also serves as the vice president of the high school.




One day, her young and hot next-door neighbor Noah (Guzman) stops by and fixes her garage door. Noah is “almost twenty”, but pretends to befriend her teenage son Kevin (Nelson) just to get closer to her. There is some innocent flirting when they catch each other naked in the windows. She is even amused when he buys her a first edition copy of “The Iliad”. Yes, “The Iliad”. I definitely believe that these two characters are obsessed with classic Greek literature. Or not. {Insert eye roll} They have a steamy one-night affair that she instantly regrets the next day. She tries to reject him, but he does not take it lightly. His true colors come to light as she learns of his hidden past. He develops a dangerous and violent obsession with her that goes too far when he forces his away into her class, starts influencing Kevin against her, and gets chummy with her ex-husband. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.


Again, I went in not fully aware of what to expect. I actually thought it was going to be a Nicholas Sparks type cheesy romance with a Mrs. Robinson/Benjamin Braddock type angle. You even have your standard thunderstorm forcing Jennifer Lopez to go over to over to the guy’s house. I suppose it is smart of her to realize her trampy ways after just the one steamy sex scene, but she then makes plenty of stupid choices throughout the rest of the movie. Maybe if she would have led him on longer, he would have been even more psychotic and crazy. Even the ending feels like it’s ripped straight out of your standard horror flick. I won’t say whom but when we find out one of the characters bites the dust, the reveal of the body seems directly modeled after one of the death scenes in Halloween. Then you have the ultimate showdown that naturally takes place in a barn. Been there, done that.


You may recognize Ryan Guzman, who plays Noah, from “Pretty Little Liars” or two of the Step Up films. I personally have not seen his body of work before now. He recently said in an online interview with “Time” magazine, “[Director] Rob Cohen did an amazing job of finding that balance, throwing in these quick one-liners to spur at least a smile. We want you to laugh.” He’s right about the laugh factor. It’s so trashy and over the top in every way that it becomes quite laughable. You would have thought it was a comedy with the amount of audible laughter happening throughout the movie. That being said, it should be more apparent that that was the point. It felt like the laughter was a by-product of how terrible the movie was, not a conscious decision. Maybe Guzman is hearing the reaction from test screenings and is now trying to cover his tracks.

Boy Next Door, The

I disagree with Guzman about the balance. Director Rob Cohen who helmed The Fast and the Furious and xXx is on odd choice for this material. It’s not quite the testosterone filled action movie he is used to directing. The script from Barbara Curry, a first time screenwriter, had the potential to be fun, but makes too many wrong moves. It’s not steamy enough to be like Fifty Shades of Grey and not soapy enough to be enjoyable like a Hallmark movie. It’s not even scary enough to warrant a Fatal Attraction type of comparison. Jennifer Lopez serves as one of the main producers of the film and has been making the press rounds like crazy trying to bring in an audience. I like Lopez, but she has another bomb on her hands. It’s no Gigli, but it has potential to be a contender for the 2016 Razzie Awards. If you decide to see it, you may want to have a couple of stiff drinks beforehand.

Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? I can’t decide if it’s so bad that it’s good OR if it’s just so bad.


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