Cinema review: The Boy Next Door

Jennifer Lopez in The Boy Next Door.

Jennifer Lopez in The Boy Next Door.

SINCE DRIVE there has been a steady stream of solid, slightly camp, low budget commercial movies. They have not always found the right audience but from 2011’s Hobo With A Shotgun to last years incredible The Guest, there has been a steady flow of B-movie action and erotic thrillers.

Most of these are more entertaining and inventive than the huge budget superhero movies they are competing with for box office revenue and I love to see them succeed. The Boy Next Door attempts to be a sort of modern Fatal Attraction with the genders reversed. That does sound pretty great.

However, noticing it was directed by Rob Cohen I was slightly apprehensive. To call him a one note director would be generous, - he barely has a note to play. He is a studio executive's dream in the sense there is nothing unique and brave about his pictures - he has brought us the instant muck xXx with Vin Diesel and The Fast and The Furious. He is void of anything resembling an artistic voice and his films are extremely safe. They do however, usually make money. The Boy Next Door also has a hilariously bad trailer that really shows all you need to see:

Jennifer Lopez herself has been in some real stinkers like Gigli and Enough. Once the highest paid actress in Hollywood, her stock has been damaged by consistently poor roles. Were she not so relevant in the music industry she would surely be nowhere near starring in a movie like she is here. That said, like Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love she does have that one great role in her filmography - Out of Sight - that will make you think, maybe, that this will be the top performance we know she can produce.

Lopez is a newly single mum who drunkenly spends the night with her next door neighbour Noah (Ryan Guzman ), who also happens to be a student at the school where she teaches. Noah is apparently “almost 20” which makes it less pervy but also makes you wonder that, if he is in high school, maybe he is part of some 21 Jump Street type police operation? All his classmates seem to be about 14. The actor himself is and indeed looks 30. Lopez was just looking for a one night stand but Noah is not so easily cast aside (it is Jennifer Lopez I suppose, can’t blame him! ) First he brings her a gift. It is, I kid you not, a first edition copy of The Iliad! How he got a first edition copy of the 1194 BC text is unknown but have to hand it to him there. That is a pretty good gift. From there he turns from smitten lover boy to all out bunny boiler psychopath.

Much like other movies in the genre it has a difficult last quarter and certainly does not offer anything in the way of a unique spin on a tired formula. Lopez is, as always watchable, and the cast around her do an admirable job keeping a straight faces as they utter some of the naffest dialogue I’ve heard in a long time.

All in all it’s pretty good fun but its not camp enough to be funny and there isn’t enough suspense to be a good thriller. This is a movie you watch at 1am on TV3 with a kebab. Do not pay good money to see in the cinema when there is so many great movies currently playing.


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