‘The Boy Next Door’ Review: Got It Bad, Got It Bad, Got It Bad…

'The Boy Next Door'

Movie Rating:


There was a time (let’s call it the 1990s) when erotic thrillers were all the rage. Then the internet happened and suddenly mainstream audiences didn’t need a movie with a lecherous premise, boobs and Michael Douglas’ butt to get their kicks. However, the good folks at Blumhouse Productions (who quite often do good work) have decided to bring that genre back with ‘The Boy Next Door’. It’s a steamy story of steaminess and soft focus sexuality with a little violence on top, plus added steaminess for good measure. In theory, it should be good trashy fun. Too bad that’s only a theory.

Jennifer Lopez stars as the world’s sexiest high school Classics teacher, Claire Peterson, who is somehow the mother of a teenage boy (Ian Nelson) and somehow had her ex-husband (John Corbett) cheat on her. She’s single and lonely and in a bad place. The worst possible thing that could happen to her at this point would be teenage boy who looks like a mid-30s beefcake moving in next door and seducing her. As the title suggests, that’s exactly what happens.

Uber-perfect thirtysomething teen Noah (Ryan Guzman) moves in next to Claire, makes fast friends with her son, and then starts seducing her by chatting up his love of Homer (classical literature Homer, not cartoon Homer) and gifting her with a first edition of ‘The Iliad’. (Wait a minute… nope, best to let that go.) One lonely night, they totally bone in the soft focus, soft jazz style of those Skinemax movies that your parents still don’t know you used to watch. Immediately, she regrets the night of teen/MILF hanky-panky and tries to terminate the relationship. Unfortunately, Guzman isn’t willing to let it go. His advances get more aggressive and start happening around classrooms once the school year kicks off. Inevitably, he goes all ‘Fatal Attraction’ and the thriller half of this erotic thriller takes over.

Honestly, the premise for Barbara Curry’s script isn’t bad. The combination of a torrid teacher/student affair with erotic thriller tropes is a pretty potent combo for illicit entertainment. Sadly, a decent trashy premise is all that the deeply stupid ‘The Boy Next Door’ has to offer. The story could not be more predictable. The dialogue is laughable. The characters are cartoons. The actors are awkwardly cast. The performances are wooden. The teen villain looks older than the middle-aged protagonist. The visual style is pedestrian. The pacing is all over the place. The plot twists are ludicrous. The production values are noticeably cheap. The suspense sequences are tedious. The sex scenes would be considered tame even by church groups. The action is dull. The music is corny. Everything goes horribly wrong.

Look, this movie was always going to be trash, but that didn’t mean it had to be garbage. That’s exactly what this flick is, completely disposable waste so unfit for human consumption that it should be buried deep in a landfill where only archeologists might find it after a few centuries.

The saddest part is that things didn’t have to be this way. Most of the failings I described above could have remained and the movie still might have been fun. All it would have taken was a sense of irony and camp. ‘The Boy Next Door’ is the type of trashy erotic thriller that Brian De Palma and Paul Verhoeven used to make with their tongues jammed firmly into their cheeks. A similarly self-mocking filmmaker could have done the same thing here, but sadly directing duties fell onto the shoulders of Rob ‘Dragonheart’ Cohen. This man has no sense of wit, style or subtext. Rather than having some winking and naughty fun with the flick, he plays everything deathly seriously and doesn’t even bother to film it with flash. The whole project feels like a rushed workman job, with sequences that are disorientingly chopped-up and re-arranged to try to appease low test screening scores. (The climax features some unbelievably awkwardly edited gore inserts that were clearly crammed in long after shooting to force something resembling thrills into this mess.)

Simply put, the movie is a disaster without any redeeming qualities beyond documented proof that J.Lo has signed some sort of deal with the devil to avoid aging. If the trailer intrigued you in any way, just watch it again and imagine your own movie. I assure you that absolutely anything you think up will be better than the nonsense the filmmakers delivered. The best thing that can be said about ‘The Boy Next Door’ is that it’s only 90 minutes long.


      • Chris B

        I am with you on the ass! Lol. But yeah I’ve said over and over it’s sheer luck she ever got famous (much like Kevin Hart, David Arquette or Kid Rock) people with minimal talent who hit the big time….

      • Chris B

        Yeah, but to be fair that role didn’t call for a whole lot of emotional range, she begins the movie as a cool, confident badass and ends it in the same way. It’s sort of the female version of Tommy Lee Jones’ role in “The Fugitive” which he somehow-inexplicably-won an oscar for!…Dicaprio was robbed.

  1. C.C. 95

    I thought the beast was dead. I thought SLIVER ended it. God help us, they are trying to revive the one genre that sends shivers worse than the ‘Spoof’ genre- The ‘Erotic Thriller’. *SHUDDER*

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