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The Boy Next Door

Director: Rob Cohen

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Ian Nelson, John Corbett, Kristin Chenoweth, Lexi Atkins, Hill Harper

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 91 minutes

Synopsis: Claire Peterson (Lopez) sets about getting her life in order after her husband has an affair. But after a one night fling with the attractive, smart, and caring young man from next door, she finds he’s not quite the sweetheart she’d thought.

If Jennifer Lopez is looking for confirmation that she is still damn sexy, then she can rest easy. It’s confirmed. But with her recent song Booty and now THE BOY NEXT DOOR, where she also acts as producer, there is a slight whiff of the world’s most needless midlife crisis. Every shot in THE BOY NEXT DOOR serves to remind us of her curves and general beautifulness. Her costumes too are chosen for no other reason than to show herself off. Yes! Jennifer Lopez is still sexy.

Outside of a showcase for the lovely Jennifer, THE BOY NEXT DOOR is absolutely terrible on every level, but at the same time may very well be the most fun you’ll have in the cinema all year. We have an instant so-bad-it’s-good classic on our hands here. All of this derives from the fact that we have a film so cliched, with dialogue so tepid, and characters so unbearingly stupid, that you’ll be in more hysterics than can physically be counted.

If I’ve learned one thing this month, it’s that to get a woman into bed all I need to do is buy a first edition. Both THE BOY NEXT DOOR and 50 SHADES OF GREY use this trope and they were both written by women. Case closed. Only THE BOY NEXT DOOR hands us the biggest laugh out loud moment of the year (seriously, it won’t be beaten) when Lopez’s Claire Peterson is handed a first edition of…wait for it… The Illiad. Of course, it could be the first edition of a specific publisher, but the way the dialogue roles, and the final punchline Ryan Guzman delivers afterwards, is comedic magic. Other highlights include all your thriller favourites, such as giving away all exposition on the phone before the person you have called indicates that it is actually them you are talking to, knocking threats unconscious and failing to take their gun, and steamy sex scenes that become awkward when well placed hands are simply used to cover up nipples.

The film is so consistent with such nonsense, you kind of have to accept that it’s all done on purpose. Meanwhile the performances are rather baffling, with Guzman’s boy next door jumping to crazy incredibly quickly, and without a real transition, and Ian Nelson having to supply the most easily manipulated character in years. The script also provides us with a number of subplots that go absolutely nowhere, with an uncle to Guzman’s crazed Noah Sandborn serving no purpose, and a scene in which Sandborn seduces another girl, that seems to be just for the audience to hate him a little bit more, as it certainly doesn’t impact on the characters in any way. Lacking any balls or want to tackle a more complex route, Sandborn is also made to be a 19 year old repeating high school, just in case you were worried about conflicting feelings of Peterson sleeping with an underage boy. There’s still the issue of abuse of power, but don’t worry your precious little brains about it, it’s never really addressed.

Generically shot, with a delightfully bonkers climax, THE BOY NEXT DOOR continues Rob Cohen’s career trajectory of schlocky films that are probably far more hilarious than intended. Never scary, and lacking any tension from similarly themed films such as THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, FATAL ATTRACTION, or SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, THE BOY NEXT DOOR seems determined to strip itself of any credibility. But despite all this, I want to see it again, maybe even more than once, so I can experience the absurdity with different audiences. I want to buy the Blu-ray and hold drinking parties with it while Booty plays in the background. So if entertainment, even for the wrong reasons, is what you’re after, then maybe you do need to see THE BOY NEXT DOOR.

[usr=3] (1 for the film + 2 for the laughsTHE BOY NEXT DOOR is released on 27th February.