Monday, February 9, 2015

THE BOY NEXT DOOR (2015)

Written by Barbara Curry


Directed by Rob Cohen


Where & When: Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, CA. February 2, 2015 5:35PM


The insane and inane, "The Boy Next Door" is a classic woman-in-peril thriller that expertly utilizes every worn-out cliche of the genre. The film is barely held together by the star-wattage of entertainer, Jennifer Lopez. She plays Claire Peterson, a high-school teacher with a teenage son, Kevin (Ian Nelson). The first misstep is that even dressed down, JLo is still too glamed-up to be convincing as an average mother.

Claire has been separated from her cheating husband (John Corbett) for months. Although he wants to win his wife back, Claire just can't get past his indiscretion to be able to trust him again.

Enter Noah (Ryan Guzman), a sweet and helpful 19-year old who has moved next door to care for his ailing uncle. He befriends Kevin but it's his mother who captures Noah's attention. The handsome boy flirts shamelessly with the lonely Claire who enjoys the attention but fully aware this is completely inappropriate.

Finally, Noah makes his move on a rainy night when her son is away with his father. Although she tries to resist, Claire gives in to her desires  We witness their passionate lovemaking that generates as much heat as a lingerie commercial. The next day, Claire leaves in a hurry after informing the boy that it was a mistake and will never happen again. But Noah will not be ignored. So begins a progressive series of crazy stalker moves that terrorizes Claire and her family.

The only thing I will say about this routine script is that the writer, Barbara Curry shouldn't be surprised to be overrun by a slew of lawsuits. Many plot points were cribbed from other thrillers and piled them together in a way where logic or reason were never a factor. Rob Cohen, the director who brought us such action-adventure gems as "xXx", "Alex Cross" and the first "The Fast and The Furious", doesn't help matters. He sleepwalks through this exercise in banality with no effort to offer even one semi-fresh idea.

The enterprising Ms Lopez is appealing as usual. You see the actress working earnestly to give a performance of a lifetime but this feeble film is hardly worthy of her efforts. Mr. Guzman, a former model and previously seen in the last two "Step Up" films, oozes plenty of charm and sex appeal however, when it comes time for him to suddenly become a raving psycho lunatic, the results are sadly laughable. The appearance of Kristin Chenoweth brightens the film briefly. Playing Vicky, the high-school vice-principal and Claire's friend, the Broadway musical star delivers a much needed jolt of sass and spunk.

"The Boy Next Door" should have been fun and campy but the filmmakers have taken this erotic melodrama far too seriously. Lazy and recycled are the best words I can come up with that best describes this overheated mess. I just thought of one more; bad.