“The Boy Next Door” is the kind of movie where when someone says, “You can trust me,” you know the opposite is true. The Jennifer Lopez thriller is a lesson in not trusting neighbors, no matter how good looking they are.
Lopez is Claire Peterson, a recently separated high school lecturer who teaches the classics and wears bubblegum pink lip-gloss. Her soon-to-be ex husband Garrett (John Corbet) is slowly trying to make things work, much to the chagrin of Claire’s best friend (Kristin Chenoweth) who can’t stand him, but to the delight of her son Kevin (Ian Nelson), who misses his dad. When the neighbor’s grandnephew Noah (Ryan Guzman), a surprisingly buff and mature looking nineteen-year-old, moves in he seems like a good role model for Kevin… at first.
He’s polite, can fix anything and takes Kevin under his muscly wing. Unfortunately he’s also in love—some might say obsessively so—with the comely Claire. One long weekend while Garrett and Kevin are on a fishing trip Claire, feeling lonely and a bit drunk, reluctantly allows Noah to seduce her. Apparently in “The Boy Next Door” no doesn’t mean no, it means “no judgment and no rules.”
The next day Claire is filled with regret but Noah is more smitten than ever. Thus begins his form of wooing, stalking her—“I’m not following you,” he says, “I live next door!”—and finagling a spot in her class. His pursuit of her heart escalates to include cut brake lines, dirty pictures and the inevitable moment when she puts an end to the relationship… permanently.
“The Boy Next Door” is as generic a thriller as the bland title suggests. There are unintentionally camp moments of soap opera melodrama but without the kind of trashy fun that would make this a so-bad-it’s-good thriller. Instead, it is simply a bad movie and you can trust me on that.