Ryan Guzman and Jennifer Lopez
This renaissance of erotically charged domestic thrillers harkens back to the 1990s. The Boy Next Door is no The Crush, the 1993 bubble from which Alicia Silverstone initially burst; it’s not even Obsessed. Still, The Boy Next Door might be trashy enough to satisfy its core demo, so long as they are looking for something a little racier than your typical Lifetime Original Movie.
Recently separated from her philandering hubby (John Corbett), a high school classics teacher, Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez), enjoys a brief dalliance with the nearly 20-year-old neighbor boy, Noah (Ryan Guzman from “Pretty Little Liars” and the last two Step Ups), who turns out—no shocker here—to be Fatal Attraction-level crazy.
No one is safe, as Noah attempts to have Claire all to himself. Lopez will leave this box office hit smelling like a sexy rose; she looks great, and the movie promotes her assets. Twenty-six-year-old Guzman looks too old for the movie’s safe 20 (we couldn’t have J-Lo actually bed a minor).
Lawyer-turned-screenwriter Barbara Curry has an ear for the sort of bad movie dialogue (the trailer highly promotes the “I love your mother’s cookies” bit) that could grow entertainingly worse with age. The dialogue and Guzman’s delivery of it exceed the brutality of the more-violent-than-expected final act.
Viewers won’t be going to see The Boy Next Door because they believe it will be good. So long as it’s entertaining for 90 minutes, its job is done. Unfortunately, the flick’s success largely depends on your taste for beefcake and cheese.