The Boy Next Door

Director: Rob Cohen (2015)

A reckless one night stand leaves school-teacher Jennifer Lopez fearing more than detention in this sensationally silly stalker flick.

Indifferent direction, terrible dialogue and a soundtrack that rumbles with unintentional comic effect make this a thriller to avoid.

Struggling mum Claire (Lopez) is rescued from a descending garage door by the hunky Noah (Ryan Guzman). New to the neighbourhood he’s the 19 year old great nephew of the cancer sufferer next door.

With chiselled good looks, perfect grooming and oiled-up abs, Noah looks and acts as if he’s stepped out of a coke commercial. It turns out he’s a transfer pupil to the high-school where Claire teaches.

Noah fixes the family car and makes himself useful around the house. He befriends Claire’s teenage son Kevin (Ian Nelson), intervenes with the local bullies, takes him for target practice and teaches him to box.

As soon as Claire’s estranged husband Garrett (John Corbett) takes Kevin on a camping trip, Noah and Claire are bonding over literature. He pops round to gift Claire a first edition of Homer’s The Iliad.

One dark and stormy night while the boys are away, Noah seduces Claire with the aid of a frozen chicken. She’s quickly demonstrating a nice line in lingerie and her own buff abs – but their steamy night of passion is secretly filmed.

When Claire wakes up she realises her career, family and life are at stake. But overnight Noah has developed a raging Oedipal complex and breathtaking anger management issues.

Claire’s attempts to gently reject him are not well received and Noah takes to playing rock music really loudly in his car as a sign of how truly peeved he is.

Noah tries to pressure Claire into a repeat performance by leaving incriminating graffiti and photographs around the school, so she confides in her vice-principal and best friend Vicky (Kristin Chenoweth).

There’s an unconvincing car crash, some computer hacking, a fractured skull and people are tied up in a barn.

Dutch camera angles, an awry colour palette and a shuddering dissonant soundtrack are employed to illustrate Noah’s inner anguish and rage. Possibly because Guzman is reluctant to project it himself.

Lopez is a decent actress who excels with strong direction, a decent script and talented co-stars – none of which she benefits from here.

This could have been a gleefully vicious and hilarious black comedy similar to The Guest, instead it’s an insipid and stupid compendium of recycled riffs and ideas.

☆☆☆☆

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s