‘The Boy Next Door’
Written by: Barbara Curry
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Kristin Chenoweth, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett.
Story: In the midst of a difficult divorce, vulnerable school teacher Claire Peterson gives in to the advances of one of her students with dire consequences.
Let us preface this by saying that ‘The Boy Next Door’ is a movie by Rob Cohen. Those who do not know him, Rob Cohen is the guy who directed ’The Skulls’, ‘The Fast And The Furious’, and ‘xXx’. A man like Rob Cohen is not without his merits (we would give ‘TFATF’ an 8 out of 10 any day of the week), but we really have to understand what to expect. Cohen is not Clint Eastwood and he doesn’t try to be. He is not trying to change the world. He just wants to make films that people might enjoy.
With that in mind, ‘The Boy Next Door’ is enjoyable. The plot is simple enough to understand, and there’s a trusty fight scene where everyone keeps hitting one another even though they have been shot, stabbed, or whatever else. There is no big twist and nothing that’s really going to make you think, which is kinda what we’re used to from JLO anyway.
Speaking of, her performance is about what you would expect from her too. She is not atrocious, but doesn’t do anything particularly noteworthy either. John Corbett is about as wooden as he has been since Carrie chose Mr. Big.
The film has some low points: the dialogue is stiff and just doesn’t deliver well despite what really seems like all the actors trying their hardest. Further, the score is put together s if trying to make this film scarier than it is. The movie is not scary at all (except maybe the dialogue) but somehow filmmakers thought it would be appropriate to use a sound akin to a thriller. And don’t even get me started on using a body double who looked nothing like the blonde high school girl she was supposed to be. That was simply poor editing.
When looking at all of these factors, it is easy to see why so many have disliked this film and critics have absolutely slammed it. It does seem like Rob Cohen has lost a little of his touch. However, we can’t really expect it to be anything more than a popcorn flick. Watch this on a rainy Sunday afternoon when you can take it at face value and not try to search for any hidden meanings or socio-political commentaries. You MIGHT just be entertained!