Directed by: Rob Cohen
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Kristin Chenoweth, John Corbett
It’s unlikely that one would expect quality akin to D.H. Lawrence from a simple saucy tale involving soccer mums and senior school kids. But with Rob Cohen at the helm, who’s arguably made more fun-filled romps than we give him credit for, you at least expect something better than this erroneous garbage.
Said mum is Claire, played by the ever-gorgeous Jennifer Lopez. She is a newly divorced mum struggling to move on from her failed marriage. How convenient it is then that the impossibly handsome Noah (Ryan Guzman) has just moved in next door. He’s a high-school teenager with an unlikely love of literary classics and the extraordinary ability to look 10 years older than he actually is. And soon Claire finds herself charmed and disarmed by Noah’s attractive nature and ripped physique. However, things take a turn for the sinister and the sensational once Claire gives in to her urges and finds herself at the mercy of Noah’s obsessive temper.
It’s all about as erotically stimulating as a fruit bowl and equally as thrilling to watch. To Cohen’s credit, he does try to build some palpable tension and scintillating excitement during the second and third acts. But the script, scribed by first-time screenwriter Barbara Curry, is so cloying it dampens all of his efforts. She has aimed to fashion a film that’s somewhere between Fifty Shades, Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction, but what she’s created is something closer to the infamously awful The Room. And at least that meandering mess benefitted from being so bad it was actually enjoyable, while The Boy Next Door is about as much fun as experiencing colonic irrigation.
The softly textured tableau and excessively emotive soundtrack add nothing but the grace and charm you’d be likely to find in a Channel 5 adaptation of a Danielle Steel novel. And the performances do nothing to enhance that mood. Lopez even struggles to find enough range to convey Claire’s dissent from horny to horrified, and spends most of the time looking lost. In fact her presence soon becomes so insufferable that you find yourself practically begging Noah to put Claire, and by extension us, out of her misery as the film reaches its flimsy and farfetched dénouement.
The Boy Next Door is so dreadful it makes the distinctly better Fifty Shades look like Lady Chatterley. You’re likely to find more sensual heat radiating from an aromatic candle than this.