When crap falls, it fails hard.
I know that’s a weird way to start a review but it’s the best way to describe Jennifer Lopez’s latest film, The Boy Next Door. When schoolteacher Claire (Lopez) separates from her husband (John Corbett), she engages in a one-night stand with a teenage boy, Noah (Ryan Guzman), who lives next door. But soon he develops a dangerous obsession with her. For starters, this story sounds like the synopsis for one of those TV movies you might see advertised on 5* or something. While the idea of someone’s obsession reaching a dangerous limit can be intriguing, this story isn’t.
The story also stumbles from set piece to set piece and is one of the most predictable piece of shit. You are always one or even five steps ahead of the characters where instead of being shocked or scared, you sit there going, “Well of course that was going to happen”. There are also a few plot holes within the film, for example, at one point in the film, Noah goes home with Claire’s son’s prom date to have sex, but at no point do they say what happened between her son, Kevin, and his prom date, Allie, at prom, how Noah convinced Allie to go home with him, how Kevin didn’t notice his prom date disappearing with Noah, whether he knew that Allie left with Noah and Kevin never bringing up what happened at prom. The script feels like a giant pile of crap that a monkey shat out. Because I was taught at uni about how important story is and the amount of time it takes to properly fine-tune your script, it amazes me how this script was ever commissioned. A bit more work and this could be at least a very decent story, but because it feels so rushed, you lose any and all connection with the story and the characters, making it a clichéd mess to watch.
The state of the film can’t just be blamed on the scriptwriter though; the acting and making of the film are just as guilty. As stated earlier, Jennifer Lopez is the biggest star in the film and that really isn’t a good thing. Not only is the character of Claire poorly written, J-Lo doesn’t help to try and improve the material with her acting. She portrays her as an idiot who really doesn’t know how to handle certain situations, but to be fair every character in this film acts like this. No one stands out in this film, acting wise and while you may recognise a few people from Scrubs and CSI, not a single actor puts in even a moderate performance.
But the worst actor in The Boy Next Door has to be the boy next door himself. Ryan Guzman, who plays Noah, is a terrible actor. For the majority of the film he needs to play psychotic and he thinks lowering his eyes and making his mouth angry is enough. But considering Ryan’s biggest films to date are the Step Up films, you can see that they didn’t really hire mehim for his acting chops.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a film as bad as The Boy Next Door, the script is terrible, the acting is painful to watch and it is neither sexy nor tense. The lack of gross out violence and tension in this film is surprising considering who’s producing the film. Jason Blum has been responsible in the past few years for films like The Purge and Sinister, which I haven’t seen but I know from people who have that they are shit your pants scary. This is a real miss from Blum who has been riding a high in the horror genre for a while now. This film also isn’t going to do Jennifer Lopez acting repetition any good either. The Boy Next Door is one of the worst films I’ve seen for a very long time and while the whole film is flawed, there is one big flaw in the film I must point out.
At around the half waypoint, Noah nearly kills a student and is expelled. Now I was sitting there thinking, “He nearly killed someone, phone the police, have him arrested and he won’t bother you ever again. Boom, done, sorted, film over. Now can you let me out of the cinema?”
The Boy Next Door is out Friday 27th