The Boy Next Door is Jennifer Lopez’s first film in two years. With more laughs and (way) more steam than in the trailer, you should give it a shot even though its great foreplay and racy sex don’t result in satisfying finish.
Still, where else would you hear lines like, "Dude, you've got to read The Iliad" coming from a man who's "nearly 20"?
JLO plays Claire, a separated high school classics teacher and mom to a sensitive teenage boy who's allergic to bees. Her estranged husband (John Corbett) cheated on her with another woman so now she's focusing on her work and her son in between quips with her plucky best friend (Kristin Chenoweth).
In comes Noah (Ryan Guzman), the sexy next door neighbour with a chiseled body. He's 19, is set to attend the school Claire teaches at, and has no other family aside from an often-MIA ailing uncle. He flatters her for her body and brains, and after she goes on the date from hell with somebody closer to her age, the two end up in bed together. When Claire dismisses their hot sex as an inappropriate one night stand, his obsession with her quickly becomes violent and hostile.
It's outrageous, but the film unravels fast after its first big scare. Even Halle Berry's 2013 starrer The Call has more thrills. Predictable and clumsy, The Boy Next Door is full of expected plot twists and you're just waiting for JLO to finally say "enough," or at least channel her character from 2002's Enough. When she does, it's fine, but the movie's foreshadowing is more in your face than the neon lights of the Las Vegas strip. Still, the best part is that the two leads always play it straight. Ryan's addiction to JLO is believable, as are his apparently-improv'd wisecracks like, "I love your mother's cookies."
Yesterday, TIME Magazine ran a piece with the headline, "The Boy Next Door is the Bad Movie Hollywood Needs Right Now." It's true. It stars two minorities, flips the genders of the fanatical ex-lover, and unlike all of this year's Best Picture nominees, it's a movie that is built around a female lead who is far from submissive. Plus, it's funny — on purpose.
In a separate interview, Ryan said that you're meant to laugh during the movie. And you do. A lot. Click here to read that.
You also laugh at JLO’s comically distracting lipgloss, something she told Andy Cohen last night that she couldn't live without (click here for the clip). Neither can Claire, apparently. The leads also use Yiddish words with last names like "Peterson" and "Sandborn." Why not? The silly micro-budget suspense story (reportedly shot for $4-million) is a lot of fun, just expect to groan and roll your eyes. And yes, of course, JLO looks amazing.
If you're looking for real suspense though, you should check out 1985's "Jagged Edge," with Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges.