The Boy Next Door (2015)

The Boy Next Door (2015)
  • Time: 91 min
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Director: Rob Cohen
  • Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Kristin Chenoweth


A newly divorced woman falls for a younger man who has recently moved in across the street from her, but their torrid affair soon takes a dangerous turn.


  • There’s very little to expect going into The Boy Next Door, and the low-budget, gender-reversing take on Fatal Attraction lives down to those expectations.

    The filmmakers set the table pretty quickly: Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) has been separated from her cheating husband Garrett (John Corbett) for nearly a year. He’s eager to reconcile, their teenage son Kevin (Ian Nelson) wants his parents back together, but Claire is unsure. She’s feeling lost and lonely and at her most vulnerable when nineteen-year-old Noah (Ryan Guzman) moves in next door, all bulging biceps and muscle tees, offering to fix a wonky garage door, befriending Kevin, and dropping quotes from The Iliad as deliberately as he evades talking about an “accident” in his past.

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  • It’s just weird seeing Jennifer Lopez staked out at the Academy Awards or the Golden Globes. She’s never been nominated for anything, never been in a flick that could be deemed critically noteworthy, and hasn’t won any kind of accolades pertaining to the world of acting. But there she is in a skimpy dress, hobnobbing with the likes of Meryl Streep, and avoiding various ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends (you just know that either Ben Affleck or P. Diddy is probably in the audience). After seeing her latest, faulty cadaver (2015’s The Boy Next Door), someone should have told her to hightail it to another awards ceremony, the almighty Razzies (if you didn’t already know, this is recognition of the worst in film).

    Now from the opening hint of a teaser trailer to the obviousness of the camera panning down to J. Lo’s famous tush, it’s clear that she’s parodying herself in the worst way here. It’s like she’s inviting her “Jenny from the Block” persona to a whole new level of surmised scrutinization. Anyway, Lopez wears enough lip gloss to power a small country in her role as Claire Peterson. In The Boy Next Door, Claire is a high school teacher, a responsible mother, and a woman who is separated from her cheating husband (John Corbett in the thankless role as Garrett Peterson). Claire lives with her son Kevin (played by Ian Nelson) and trades barbs with vice principal Vicky Lansing (the annoying, token girlfriend who doesn’t have a life of her own and is played by Cameron Diaz look-alike, Kristin Chenoweth). From the beginning of “Boy Next Door”, Claire discovers that she has two neighbors. They are a dying uncle and his nineteen year-old, great-nephew Noah Sandborn (played by Ryan Guzman). As the Lopez character begins to take Noah in, befriend him, and let the young buck hang out with her son, she actually partakes in bad judgement by having a brief romantic tryst with him (kind of like art imitating life, huh J. Lo). She then rejects his later advances causing Noah to make her life a living hell. He stalks her, harasses her, actually enrolls in her English class (he’s obviously too old for high school, strange), and exhibits some seriously violent behavior. Meanwhile, Claire doesn’t bother to go to the police and Noah’s uncle is oblivious to his great-nephew’s shenanigans (you’d think he’d know by now if the young punk had some psychotic tendencies).

    The Boy Next Door as a movie, is artificially staunch. Rob Cohen directs and his results are nothing less than uninspired (look for a scene where some poor audio dubbing is used, who would have thunk it). He veers away from his more complex and flashy work with The Fast and the Furious to churning out bad camp that resembles something more along the lines of his 2000 vehicle, The Skulls. He wants to give his audience a modern day Fatal Attraction. Instead, he fashions ninety-one minutes without any sense of depth not to mention a laughable ending that has 2006’s Swimfan written all over it (its been a long time since that dud’s been mentioned). I mean, it’s hard for me to figure out why this thing was even made. It’s not based on a book, or a true story, or anything. I guess it was relegated on a concept from the mind of screenwriter Barbara Curry. Some concept. “Boy Next Door” is not entertainingly bad, it’s just bad period. It takes about twenty minutes for antagonist Noah to go all habitual psycho and Guzman plays him by overacting blandly (I didn’t think this was possible). You as the audience member, are supposed to fear his reluctant baby face but you just silently end up laughing at him.

    Oh and what would a disposable January release be without some movie cliches. “Boy Next Door’s” got em’ like the adage where the cops show up late after all the killings and violent, physical confrontations have already occurred. And you gotta have the obligatory jump scares via a screeching cat plus a villain who just won’t stay down (Noah gets hit over the head multiple times, stabbed in the eye, and kicked in the nards but just keeps a comin’). About forty-five minutes into “Boy Next Door”, Noah fractures a bully’s skull, gets expelled from high school, and yet Claire becomes reprimanded by the school’s principal for grabbing his arms in the gymnasium (ah huh). If characters are manipulated by the mechanics in the script, then The Boy Next Door would resonate as the be-all end-all (the actor who plays Claire’s son Kevin changes his personality on a dime but then again, he is a lost teenager).

    In hindsight, you can tell that this is strictly a J. Lo marketed affair. She produced it, she stars in it, and it’s catered to her aura (if you wanna call it that). She’s not a horrible enchantress by any means but if she continues to churn out crud like this, she’ll always be a bridesmaid, never a bride when it comes to actress recognition. Oh wait, she has been a bride three other times before but that’s a whole different arena. Oops.

    Of note: If you consider 2002’s Enough to be intolerable (another J. Lowdown), then The Boy Next Door certainly won’t do you any favors. You’ve been warned.

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  • Tony Barton

    The Boy Next Door is a psychological thriller by Barbara Curry and directed by Rob Cohen.
    Claire (Jennifer Lopez) is a school teacher that discovers that her husband Garrett (John Corbett) is having an affair with his secretary. Her best friend and colleague Kate (Kristin Chenoweth) tries to talk her into a divorce. Claire bumps into Noah (Ryan Guzman), the orphaned nephew of her new elderly neighbour.
    Claire’s son Kevin becomes friends with Noah, who starts to attend Kevin’s school, the same school that Claire works as a Teacher.

    Noah finds himself attracted to Claire and tries to impress her by telling her of his love for Homer’s Lliad. Kevin and Garrett go on a fishing trip and Claire finds herself spying on the naked Noah from her bedroom window.
    Claire agrees to go on a date with Kate and her boyfriend Ethan (Travis Shuldt) who bring along Cooper (Brian Mahoney). The date is a flop however and Claire storms out on the self centred Cooper and returns home.
    Later that night, Noah calls Claire and asks for her help with cooking a chicken. Claire goes to him and they end up having dinner together. Noah has more on his mind however, and begins to seduce the vulnerable Clare and finally gets her into bed.

    Claire awakes and immediately regrets her infidelity and hurriedly dresses and leaves. Kevin and Garrett return home from their fishing trip and find Clare trying to distance herself from Noah. Kevin likes Noah however, and begins to spend more and more time alone with him. Noah is determined to make sure Clare pays for turning her back on him and begins to poison Kevin’s mind against her and Garrett.
    However, Claire is sure that things will calm down, once she has spoken to Noah face to face.

    It soon becomes clear however, that Noah has a dark side and doesn’t intend to quietly slip away into the night.

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