Frustratingly skirting the line that separates a rip-roaring, knee-slapping bad movie we love from just another snoozy bad movie, The Boy Next Door never delivers much of anything but a yawn and faint giggle. Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious) from a clunky script by Barbara Curry, it’s a strictly bargain basement stalker thriller in which we’re asked to buy the notion of Jennifer Lopez as not only a brilliant high school literature schoolteacher who’s all about Homer and The Iliad but also as a viable movie star in 2015.
Lopez, all lip-glossed, brushed-out and hot as hell despite a Minnie Mouse voice, plays suburban hausfrau Claire, vulnerable after being dumped by her philandering horndog husband (John Corbett) and trying to cope with her awkward young son’s terrible allergies. She’s a model mom, always baking cookies and smiling through her tears. She’s a cool teacher, too, never concerned with tests or actual results. She’s a ‘40s movie cliche waiting to be steamrolled.
Enter sweet, helpful, hunky 19 year-old-jailbait-next-door Noah (Ryan Guzman, Step Up) who worms his way into Claire and her son’s lives by fixing a garage door, dispensing fatherly advice and often stripping down near his window for Claire to ogle.
In no time at all, they’re all over each other in a softcore porn sex scene that recalls the glory days of Cinemax. Anytime the characters speak, though, the theater walls echo with the sound of a tinny Lifetime movie. Of course, the trailers and ad campaign have already tipped us of to Noah’s being a full-on obsessive psycho, diabolically messing with Claire’s son and twisting the moronic heroine around his little… well …maybe not so little finger.
So why does it take so damn long for him to get crazy? And, why, once he does is the movie completely a flat, illogical, and derivative of psychosexual thrillers like Fatal Attraction and, even worse, Swimfan? To invoke the old song, how can you ignore the boy next door? Easy. Stay clear of any theater showing this insipid, thrill-less and pretty much sexless thriller. ½ *