I already know what you are thinking. It’s the month of January. This is the month where movies that studios have no faith in go to die. You don’t need to tell me that. I know that all too well. However, there are four main reasons that actually managed to convince me to check to see this one. First up, I wanted to check in on my home girl from the block, J-Lo (Jennifer Lopez). I never hated her or anything so I just wanted to see how she was doing post Marc Anthony. Second, this one is directed by Rob Cohen and he has “some” clout, don’t you think? Third, it’s Rated-R! Hell yeah! And last but not least, there’s a certain list titled “The 20 Greatest Things About This Amazing ‘The Boy Next Door’ Trailer” over here that had me in stitches. That’s enough reasons, right?
It’s the premise of The Boy Next Door, coupled with its January release date and hilariously bad trailer, that had me really shaking in my boots before getting all comfortable in my screening seat Tuesday night. The premise isn’t all that original. I had already prepared myself to see some everyday humdrum. Isn’t that horrible of me? Haha. I know, but I got scorned by The Woman in Black 2 already this month so my guard is up. So here it goes.
The premise of our film, The Boy Next Door (not to be confused with 2004’s The Girl Next Door), sees Jennifer Lopez as a newly divorced, high school teacher, having a one-night stand with her young neighbor (Ryan Guzman). Now here’s the big reveal! You ready for this? The neighbor quickly develops a homicidal-like obsession with her and he will stop at absolutely nothing to keep her for himself. Stop me if you heard this one before. Supposedly, as the story goes, this movie is very similar to a true crime case that happened in the seventies. I read that on the Internet so take that with a grain of salt if you would please.
As the famous prophet Paul Stanley once said in the beginning of track #3,” I Just Wanna,” on Alive III, “man it’s time for the good, the bad and the ugly.” He couldn’t have been more right when describing The Boy Next Door. There’s good parts, not so good parts and just plain bad parts. So tell me, do you want some wine with your cheese? Oh yeah! There’s a lot of cheese to help yourself to in The Boy Next Door. It felt like I was back in the early 90’s all over again. However, considering how fond I was of the 90’s, that’s not necessarily a bad thing and I’ll tell you why by discussing all the good stuff first before we move onto the not so good stuff, for lack of a better choice of vernacular to utilize.
The film is rated-R. It has that much going for it. It’s not overly gory, but there are a few select scenes. However, what it has most of is language and sexuality, even a nude scene (sadly not J-Lo). So yeah, if you asked my opinion, things were done right here as this easily could have been a teeny bopper movie and taken the PG-13 route. If that would have been the case, I think my wandering interest in this film would have succumbed to be much less. Nonetheless, I can honestly say it’s a solid…um..B-movie venture!
Truth be told, what I do like most about this film is that it felt like pure 90’s cheese and it knew it, meaning it was very self-aware of itself. It’s not like the writers or filmmakers sought out to make an Oscar worthy film full of scenes that just did not work for one reason or another. Oh no! I got the feeling they knew exactly what kind of film this was going to be, what their expected reception would be and quite honestly, just tried to have as much fun with it as possible. I’m hoping that I’m right here. The fun cheese factor is really what kept me in the game here. I admittedly did enjoy a few laughs, and let’s be honest now, J-Lo is still pretty easy on the eyes, but can she act? Now you just went ahead an opened a whole other can of worms. Good going!
So yeah, the acting was subpar on this, although unlike our friend Peter suggested, I did not bring my phone in for entertainment. With that being said I did not know what I watching for awhile here, was it The Guest (some instant similarities here) or was it the sensual Unfaithful? I know they say they were trying to base this on a real story from the 70’s, but it just didn’t feel like they truly knew where they were going with this one as one moment it also feels like a treacherous teenage stalker flick, but then a cheap horror one the next with so many cliche devices at the filmmakers’ disposal it makes me chuckle severely even days later thinking about it. Sure there were plenty of scares, but they were cheap ones, the ones that tried to make you jump out of your seat for no reason at all other than to say they did. That worked with the press screening audience I was with, but how well it would hold up after a second viewing, well I’m just not that sure of it. I think The Boy Next Door wears out his welcome after only one viewing, but your results may vary. The audience sure seemed to have a good time with this one.
Despite the misguided direction at times, and all kidding aside, The Boy Next Door wasn’t that awful as I thought it would be. Sure it feels like a January film, but it could of been so much worse. The saving grace for me was that it was self aware of itself. The protagonist is flawed and the antagonist is wicked crazy and deceptive. Who could ask for anything more, right? Well, albeit that’s a rhetorical question, but there were some clever plot twists, scares and shocks despite the absurd cliches abound in the feature. Where did that cinder block come from? And is a single garage door really that heavy? However, when it’s all said and done, The Boy Next Door accomplishes, in my opinion, what it set out to be, a decent flick in the very rough and choppy waters of January. And quite honestly, when it comes to January films, that’s all that matters. Although it wasn’t as juicy as I wanted it to be and very predictable at times, The Boy Next Door gets a passing score from me, as long as you’re not expecting much more from your movie outing than a few B-movie scares and laughs. Of course, all J-Lo fans should RUN to your nearest theater ASAP!
Tell me something…does this poster down below eerily remind you of Into the Blue‘s, or is it just me?