There are a lot of talented people behind the making of The Boy Next Door. Somehow, despite their best efforts, we have the first truly awful movie of 2015.
Think Fatal Attraction with the genders reversed. Now, take out the intelligence, the wit, any semblance of drama (and the steamy sex, for that matter) and what you have left is what this is.
Plot: An about to be divorced woman, Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez, Out of Sight, Parker), has sex with a nineteen-year future student, Noah Sandborn (Ryan Guzman, Pretty Little Liars) – knowing that he will be attending the school where she teaches. Following the one-night stand and her getting it together enough to inform him the night was a mistake that must not be repeated, he goes all stalkery on her – leading to pain, humiliation and death.
The script, by first-time feature writer Barbara Curry, is leaden, depth-free and, ultimately unintentionally hilarious. There’s a key moment with an engine block that I was surprised to see did not bear the brand Acme Novelty Co.
Persons upon whom Noah’s psycho campaign wreak pain include Claire’s soon-to-be-ex, Garrett (John Corbett, Parenthood, United States of Tara) and son, Kevin (Ian Nelson, Teen Wolf, The Judge), as well as her best friend and boss, Vice-Principal Vicky Lansing (Kristen Chenoweth, GCB, Glee).
Noah tries to turn Noah against his dad; plasters photocopies of him and Claire all over her classroom, and does take kindly to being expelled by Vicky.
Director Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, xXx) can’t quite find a way to make The Boy Next Door to work. Every scene seems to be cribbed from elsewhere – there’s even a ‘don’t go in the basement!’ sequence – and they come on predictable beats. Even the score merely telegraphs everything.
Though the movie comes in a relatively tidy 90 minutes, it felt like twice that.
I know it’s early in the year, but we may have just seen our first potential multi-Razzie-nomination title – not that it’ll matter. The Boy Next Door was shot on a microbudget – if it makes it to double-digit millions, it’ll turn a tidy profit.
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Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures