Corny, gratuitous, and more entertaining that it deserves to be.
As soon I saw heard the premise for The Boy Next Door, I knew it would not be a great movie, but anyone that went to see it would still be in for a treat. Jennifer Lopez stars as Claire Peterson, a high school teacher currently juggling raising her son and handling a divorce from her cheating husband. Enter Noah, played by Ryan Guzman, the sweet new boy next door who moves into the neighborhood with an ill family member following the death of his parents. Tensions rise as Noah spends more and more time in the Peterson household, and Noah progressively becomes more forward with Claire. Naturally, they inevitably sleep together, which is where the fun really begins.
You see, Noah is still in high school. He was held back a bit with his parents death, so he’s 20 and only now getting around to finishing his senior year. To make matters more complicated, we quickly catch on that he’s a master manipulator. He seems like the perfect kid, yet has a dark side that slowly appears in bursts as the film progresses. He’s spurned by Claire’s insistence that what happened was a one-night stand, and quickly becomes obsessed with winning her heart. But in the worst possible ways.
Like I said in the opening of this, The Boy Next Door is not a great movie, but it is pretty entertaining. The film knows exactly what it is, and doesn’t try to be anything else. It’s campy and over-the-top, escalating from a drama to thriller to borderline horror film across it’s sub-2 hour running time. The dialogue is purposely gratuitous, with plenty of innuendo infused lines throughout. Side characters fulfill every possible trope as well – the cheating husband, the asthmatic nerdy son with his eyes on the hottest girl in school, and the slutty best friend who happens to work at the same place. Each role is a something you’ve seen before, but meshes into this film in a fun way, especially the Claire’s best friend, played by Kristin Chenoweth.
Outside of the story and characters, which themselves are what you’d expect, there’s nothing particularly special about any of the filmmaking. Cinematography and directing are standard, and the music could be swapped out with any other film of this genre and you would probably never even notice.
I’m a total sucker for guilty conscience movies, and teacher-student relationships most definitely fall into that category. The Boy Next Door is far more enjoyable than this type of film deserves. Grab some beers and then see it with some friends. See it in a crowded theater. Everyone is there for the same trashy flick, so get rowdy and enjoy the ride.