“The Boy Next Door,” a sexy thriller about a woman who goes too far with a mysterious high school senior, released on Friday.
The film, directed by Rob Cohen, mainly got attention for casting the beautiful Jennifer Lopez as Claire Petersen, a high school English teacher who gets into more than a little trouble when she decides to have an affair with the high school boy next door.
Knowing that Cohen is also the director of the infamously ridiculous movie “The Fast and the Furious,” it’s difficult not to go into this movie without a preconceived idea of its overall quality.
Similarly to “The Fast and the Furious,” this film is saturated with cheesy lines and obvious quips that are completely expected.
Claire, a woman in the middle of a bitter separation from her husband, is charmed by the neighbor boy Noah after it is made apparent that her husband, played by John Corbett, has been cheating on her.
Noah, portrayed by model and actor Ryan Guzman, seems like a kind young man as he helps Claire fix her garage door and befriends her bullied teenager son Kevin. However, audiences find that Noah begins to get too close for comfort to Claire.
Lopez, throughout the movie, gives a one-dimensional depiction of her character, constantly speaking in a whiny voice that is not convincing of a respected English teacher.
Of course the film’s hair and makeup crew conquered perfection with Lopez, yet her made-up hair and glamorous makeup looked completely unrealistic given the several intense and dangerous situations she found herself in.
Hair never keeps that much shape and volume in a barn fire.
A scene that is totally laugh-out-loud worthy in this movie is one that consists of Claire and Noah conversing back and forth, sharing their mutual irrelevant knowledge of classic literature.
This whole scene is supposed to show a romantic bond forming, when in reality it’s just plain awkward to watch.
The most cliché aspect of this film is definitely the “innocent” glances Lopez and Guzman share through each other’s windows, all while Lopez sports lingerie and heels, and Guzman walks around naked for some creepy purposeful reason.
One can count the number of times that this scene has occurred over the years in different films on 20 hands.
One night Claire is asked by Noah to help him with a cooking problem, since he apparently doesn’t know that not everything belongs in a microwave. After they dine on half-microwaved chicken, Noah suddenly makes advances toward Claire, which are at first turned down because Claire is supposed to be a decent adult who doesn’t sleep with minors. Yet after hearing Noah claim there will be “no judgments,” she gives in rather quickly.
Watching the one sex scene in this movie, it’s safe to assume that Lopez’s manager pushed for a lot of camera attention focused on her “assets,” probably to distract from her inept acting. Claire’s wardrobe mainly consisted of figure-hugging skirts and tops, definitely being used as a distraction tool as well.
Guzman definitely has the whole Macy’s catalogue default model look going for him, which was not an advantage for him playing this part.
The psychopathic Noah, who eventually becomes obsessed with Claire after she “loves him and leaves him,” definitely needed a more unique actor to play his part.
His appearance was just not memorable enough, and left behind a half-fulfilled character. One thing that Guzman did well with was acting insane and violent, punching a wall and using his martial arts skills to intimidate Claire Petersen.
The most disappointing part of this film is the fact that the talented Kristin Chenoweth agreed to act in it. Chenoweth plays Lopez’s sassy and strong best friend, portraying the character extremely well in every aspect, but watching her play this character was comparable to hypothetically watching Meryl Streep play an extra.
Yes, she has appeared in many mediocre films such as “Space Chimps” and “Deck the Halls,” but her outstanding performance as Glinda in the Broadway musical “Wicked” redeemed the actress, and therefore begs the question, “Why did she play such a minor part in such a ridiculous film?”
“The Boy Next Door” basically has the same storyline as “Obsessed” starring Idris Elba, the only difference being that the main character, Claire, willingly got herself into the inevitable trouble that results from having an affair, nonetheless with a minor.
Cohen’s direction resulted in the film completely being lost, while the writing sounded far too familiar and overused. This movie just goes to show that Jennifer Lopez should not quit her day job as a singer, and Cohen should probably start looking for “Help Wanted” signs.