"The Boy Next Door"
Release Date: Jan. 23, 2015
Running Time: 91 minutes
Jennifer Lopez’s high school teacher in The Boy Next Door gets an “F” for her judgment in men. It’s one thing for Lopez to try to salvage her marriage to John Corbett, whose midlife crisis manifests itself in an affair with his secretary and the purchase of a purple muscle car that only Vin Diesel should drive. It’s another for Lopez to enjoy a night of passion with Ryan Guzman’s 19-year-old next-door neighbor, knowing full well that the strapping young man’s just transferred to her high school and wants to take her classic literature class. Awkward. The Boy Next Door’s gender-bender twist on Fatal Attraction and The Crush is about the only original element of director Rob Cohen’s laughable psychosexual throwback thriller. While The Boy Next Door happily presents Lopez as a teacher hot enough to appear in a Van Halen music video, it’s the chiseled and clean-cut Guzman who’s treated like a sex object by Cohen. Based on Barbara Curry’s screenplay, though, muscles are not enough to turn on a woman. So Guzman woos Lopez with his resourcefulness, compassion, and knowledge of the Iliad. Yes, the discussion between Guzman and Lopez about the themes that inform Homer’s epic poem does foreshadow some of the bloody events to come, in case you were wondering. Curry makes the fatal mistake of turning Guzman into a raging psychopath the second Lopez tells him she made a mistake sleeping with him. Lopez immediately knows Guzman’s going to be trouble, which undermines Cohen’s efforts to wring any tension out of Guzman’s attempts to harass Lopez back into his manly arms. Had Guzman been treated as the intelligent young man we are led to believe he is, his insidious efforts to drive a wedge between Lopez and the rest of her family may have resulted in an intriguing study in the art of manipulation. Instead, we know Guzman’s every move long before he rattles off obvious innuendoes about Lopez’s cookies, scatters evidence of their sexual encounter around class, or commits acts of violence against anyone who stands in his way. It doesn’t help that Guzman storms through The Boy Next Door with a Looney Tunes-ish demented look that signals his intent to harm and destroy. Or that Lopez mostly gasps or screams as a way to convey the fear and trepidation that grips a person when she is on the verge of losing everything she holds dear. Not that Cohen or Curry paint a vivid, realistic picture of what it’s like for a woman to be stalked. This is just a nightmare scenario played out for cheap, lurid shocks.
Aired: Jan. 22, 2015
Web site: http://www.theboynextdoorfilm.com/