The Boy Next Door

Film, Thrillers
2 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
The Boy Next Door

Jennifer Lopez has serious beefcake issues in this lazy, low-budget, not-as-much-fun-as-it-should-be potboiler.

Following the departure of her cheating husband (John Corbett), schoolteacher Claire (Lopez) should be throwing herself into work. Instead, she throws herself into the well-toned arms of neighbouring hunk Noah (Ryan Guzman), the kind of all-American kid who likes to quote Homer, shoot oranges off a log with automatic weapons and slowly peel off his tank top in front of open windows.

But when Claire opts not to go back for seconds, Noah’s inner psycho is unsurprisingly revealed, leading to the sort of wall-punching, brakeline-snipping, watch-you-while-you-sleep stalker shenanigans that were all the rage back in the early ’90s.

Props to director Rob Cohen for making a gender-flipped ‘Fatal Attraction’. But ‘The Boy Next Door’ really should be a lot juicier – it’s only in the closing moments that the film finally cuts loose, going out with the kind of gory, goofy, over-the-top bang that will win it fans among the so-bad-it’s-good crowd.​


Release details

Release date:
Friday February 27 2015
91 mins

Cast and crew

Rob Cohen
Barbara Curry
Ryan Guzman
Jennifer Lopez
Kristin Chenoweth
Lexi Atkins

Average User Rating

2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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When you get back from holiday in the wee small hours of the morning, the capacity of your brain to do anything vaguely intellectual the following afternoon is gonna be seriously diminished and that my friends, will be my defence when my Netflix history scrolls past and ‘The Boy Next Door’ pops up in full view for all to see.

To be fair, I’m not at all ashamed to say that I absolutely love a good, schlocky, 90’s ‘esque thriller which I’m guessing is exactly what director Rob Cohen was going for here. As the man at the helm of films such as ‘XXX’ and ‘The Fast & the Furious’, he’s no stranger to the concept of smash-bang-wallop action high-kicking vaguely-intelligently-written dialogue into touch but still, this could have been much better than it was.

As well as defending dubious movie choices, I’ll also hold my hands up and say I don’t think J-Lo is anywhere near as bad as people seem to think she is – come on, convince me you didn’t love Sunday afternoon guilty pleasure ‘The Wedding Planner’ or shout encouragement at the screen as she single-handedly empowered her way to freedom in ‘Enough’? Here though, poor Jenny from the Block simply isn’t given anything to work with.

An absolutely appalling script that I genuinely think I could have written on my 8 minute tube commute is beyond dreadful – my boyfriend was both baffled & somewhat scared as I kept muttering the lines that I knew were coming, 10 seconds before they were spouted on screen. As a freshly separated teacher, Jennifer’s Claire Peterson is trying to juggle work, her teenage son and a difficult relationship with her estranged & cheating husband (played by a woefully under-used John Corbett) when hunky beefcake orphan Noah Sandborn moves in next door. What follows is a colour-by-numbers seduction and violent aftermath as she attempts to convince him that this is not a relationship headed for a happy ever after.

Ryan Guzman’s Noah is an absolute car-crash to watch, his acting skills matched only by the afore-mentioned, toe curling script and an apparent belief that a six pack is going to take him into the realms of thespian lore. The eternally & squeakily fabulous Kristin Chenoweth is so wasted as Claire’s friend Vicky that you think the only feeling she must have had during the last few scenes of the film was utter relief that it was over.

Word of warning, the dialogue is not only amateurishly predictable and unintentionally hilarious, it also has some wholly un-necessary words thrown in for nothing other than shock value and the seduction scene is NSFWWP…Not Suitable For Watching With Parents.

Is it the worst film ever made? Well no, not in a world where ‘Pitch Black’ and ‘Starship Troopers’ exist it isn’t but make no mistake, this is not a film to watch if you’re after even the vaguest whisper of cerebral challenge. This is a hangover film, a jet lag film, a too-sick-to-reach-for-the-remote film and while it won’t rock your world, it’ll pass 90 minutes of your time in an affably awful enough way.