Her mistake. His obsession.
The Boy Next Door is a 2015 erotic-thriller film starring Jennifer Lopez, John Corbett, and Ryan Guzman. Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and The Furious) and written by Barbara Curry, the story revolves around high school teacher Claire (Jennifer Lopez), who is currently separated from her husband. While being separated, she makes the mistake of having a short affair with new neighbor Noah (Ryan Guzman), a psychopath in the making who was obsessed with her.
The Boy Next Door had a January 23, 2015 release in the United States. With a budget of $4 million, the film grossed over $50 million, making it a box-office hit. Despite this, the movie received negative critics for its lackluster quality. The DVD and Blu-ray of the film were released April 28, 2015.
Claire (Jennifer Lopez) is on the verge of divorcing her husband, Garrett (John Corbett) when he was caught cheating with his secretary. This domestic problem has caused a rift between them and their son. Claire evicts Garrett from their home and plans to divorce him for good.
At this time, a new neighbor comes in the picture. Noah (Ryan Guzman) introduces himself as the next-door neighbor’s nephew. He gets friendly with Kevin (Ian Nelson), Claire’s son, and helpful to Claire. Noah hangs out more often at Claire’s house, and the two begin a dangerous flirting game. Claire is charmed by Noah’s adorable personality. As the story progresses, Claire gives in to temptation and sleeps with Noah.
Claire realizing that having an affair with Noah was a mistake tries to avoid him, both in the neighborhood and in school, but Noah has become so obsessed with her. He refuses to end their relationship and begins to harass Claire, forcing himself on her and resorting to dirty tactics that include leaking their video sex tape.
Everything comes to a fruition when Noah lures Claire into her best friend’s house. Noah then takes her into a barn house where he has also held Garrett and Kevin captive. A violent scuffle ensues, including a lot of blood and gore, with Noah eventually getting killed. The credits roll with the paramedics and police arriving at the scene.
Despite its great performance in the box office, earning manifold than its original budget, The Boy Next Door has received fairly negative reviews. While it may seem like an entertaining film especially for stalker thriller fans, its lackluster production in different aspects has earned its 10% rating in Rotten Tomatoes and 30/100 critic rating in Metacritic.
Critics were quick to point out that the movie had poor direction, faulty editing, and the actors just didn’t’ live up to its character. Guzman’s portrayal of the obsessive personality Noah was heavily criticized as boring, clichéd stereotype, and monotonic.
Another issue of contention in the movie is that it tries so hard to be that psycho-thriller blockbuster, but turns out to be a laughable version instead. The dialogue makes you cringe, the actors are eye candies, but their acting is painful, character development went out the window, and the plot is just too cliché.
Some moviegoers were also quick to point out that the movie was reminiscent of JLo’s movie Enough. While others, especially a handful of critics, commended Jennifer Lopez for giving all she’s got to at least make the film decent. How she came to take on this project was well beyond everybody’s grasp and has quite surprised everyone.
Overall, if you’re a fan of JLo or even the male lead who, honestly, is an eye candy, you have to watch the film. If you’re looking for entertainment value, The Boy Next Door is an okay watch, but don’t expect too much from it, not even insightful dialogues.