The Boy Next Door – Movie Review
The Boy Next Door – R
Release Date: Fri 23 Jan 2015
The premise of this thriller is that troubled, nineteen-year-old Noah (Ryan Guzman) begins to blackmail his next door neighbor Claire (Jennifer Lopez) after a one night stand. The inappropriate sexual encounter is to have occurred because Claire was a little drunk on wine and vulnerable as her marriage to Garrett (John Corbett) is on the rocks.
None of this is ever believable thanks to an extremely sloppy screenplay that never bothers to establish a real connection between Claire and Noah. Yes, Noah is an unstable sociopath, but the amount of time Claire spends simply doing nothing to stop him – before and including their night together – is extremely frustrating to watch.
The sex scene itself tries to be steamy without really graduating from PG-13 territory and seems divorced from the rest of the plot. It’s not rape, she just says no a few times at the beginning to establish that deep down she knew better. When she wakes up naked in his room the next morning, she doesn’t act like an adult and talk to him about anything. She just tries to run, which sets off the raging psycho version of Noah we see for the rest of the film.
There’s an extremely clunky plotline where she figures out that he may have tampered with his father’s car, causing the death of his parents. The climactic scene is another series of ridiculous choices from Claire’s character. It’s borderline satire, managing to be more cliche than the girl in the horror movie falling during a chase. An EMT says something no real EMT would ever say, and the credits roll.
The Boy Next Door is a shockingly bad movie, almost comical at times with how little agency our protagonist has against a teenage boy. It was a chore to sit through in the theater without making lots and lots of jokes. Even so, there were people laughing during act one before the reality set in that the movie was not going to get better.
Hannah and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: