Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: The Boy Next Door

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Kristin Chenoweth
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Language: English
Rating: R
Running Time: 91 minutes

Out of the first batch (read as January) of movies for 2015, there were only two movies of interest for me (later 3), this one and Mortdecai (then Selma). My mom wanted to see both as well, but obviously we opted for Jennifer Lopez. Mr. Depp, I'll get to you when you're on DVD.

After finding out about an affair, Claire Peterson struggles to get back into the dating scene while raising her son and figuring out her emotions for her husband Garrett. Suddenly, a gorgeous forbidden distraction moves in with his great uncle in the form of Noah Sandborn. Noah entices some suppressed feelings Claire has and tries to give her a better life than what she has now. Unfortunately, this dream man is more of a recurring nightmare.

The Boy Next Door is a very paint by numbers obsession film. In other words, this movie is very cliche and predictable. Does that ruin the enjoyment for me? Not really. In fact, my mother and I thought the predictability was very amusing and we found ourselves laughing at the content.

The acting, for the most part is...decent. Jennifer Lopez does her best to portray her character Claire as a dimensional character. She worries about her sick son, tries to remain professional as a high school teacher, and keeps her dignity with her decision between her husband and her convincing young neighbor. Her son Kevin is your typical awkward kid with a medical condition. He lacks confidence and is constantly bullied about his past which makes him an easy target for Noah to get closer to his goal. Noah has charm and charisma which fits his pretty boy image. The supporting characters simply follow the stalker movie tropes as much as the main cast: the cheating husband who wants redemption but doesn't look as physically appealing as his wife or the guy she's attracted to; the best friend that supports and encourages our protagonist to move on, not make the same mistakes, and gives her strength during her crisis; and the pretty girl and principal who are basically just that. The bullies are pretty weak too.

I really don't blame the actors for their bland roles or the actions they take, I blame the poor writing. Most of the cringeworthy dialogue comes from Noah's end as I feel he goes from zero to a thousand too rapidly instead of a gradual clinginess or insanity. Claire's dialogue comes off as clumsy sometimes and it's usually when she talks to Noah about his feelings and sometimes her son. Lastly, Garrett's lines seem too bland and robotic. The delivery doesn't help either.

Honestly, my mom and I really enjoyed ourselves watching this movie, despite it being no where near perfect. I would've liked more of a gradual crazy development with Noah and better dialogue for these characters, but the predictability made the trip entertaining and amusing. The Boy Next Door is a harmless obsession movie, so if you skip out on it, you're not missing out on anything. But if you feel the need to see it, I would wait to rent it.

Rating: 2.5/5

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