by Sherry Lipp
The Boy Next Door left me scratching my head and it wasn’t because of the intricate plot details. It’s because it’s hard to fathom why this movie was even made. This film misses every mark from the word go. The plot is so unimaginative and predictable that The Boy Next Door doesn’t even qualify as one of those so-bad-it’s-good guilty pleasures.
Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) is a high school literature teacher who is separated from her husband and raising her teenage son Kevin (Ian Nelson). When good looking Noah (Ryan Guzman) moves in next door it’s clear the two have a little spark between them. Unfortunately any real edge the film might have had is blown right off the bat. We learn almost immediately that Noah is “almost 20.” So the boy next door is really the young man next door.
So when one thing leads to another and Claire has a one night stand with Noah is it really that big of a deal? It turns out Noah is enrolled in the same high school as her son (he is still a senior), but if he was just a cashier at the local supermarket no one would care. Yes, she’s way older, but so what? Given that Noah is an adult I’m not sure why they set this movie in a high school.
Though the fling happened during the summer, before the student/teacher relationship existed, Claire is terrified of anyone finding out. Noah on the other hand thinks the two are meant to be and lets her know it. The trouble is Noah is an out-of-control maniac who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
From that point on anyone could easily guess what happens next without seeing any more of the movie. This film has been made so many times you feel like you might have seen it already. The worst offense of this very bad film is the portrayal of Noah. He is so over-t he-top it defies logic. How many times have we seen the great guy who endears himself to a family – he helps out around the house, he defends the son from bullies, and he takes care of his sick uncle – and then he turns out to be a homicidal maniac? It’s been done to death and this film adds absolutely nothing to the well-worn concept.