The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door

In Theatres: 
Jan 23, 2015
Running Time: 
91 minutes
Unwise decisions are often made in a whirlwind of stress and confusion. This is where Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) finds herself.  Her marriage to Garrett (John Corbett) is crumbling under the weight of his infidelities, her dates do not go well, and her son, Kevin (Ian Nelson) is being bullied. 
When Kevin meets the neighbor's’ nephew, Noah Peterson (Ryan Guzman), Claire is thrilled. Claire and Noah bond over a love for Greek classic literature. Noah defends Kevin from bullies, teaches him how to build cars, and how to talk to girls. Kevin begins to idolize Noah as an older (Noah is 19) brother; a mold he may one day fit. 
But Claire is the apple of Noah’s eye. He is over solicitous, he compliments Claire and his eyes follow her across every room. When Claire is unwinding after a horrible date, Noah calls feigning a need for cooking assistance. He declares his lust for her, he tells her he would cherish her while Claire protests about how wrong things feel. They eventually have a torrid one night stand in a scene that earns every bit of the film’s R rating. 
Director Rob Cohen addressed the R rating in an interview with CraveOnline, "The first thing I said was, “If you want me, I’m making an R-rated movie.” I don’t want to deal with sex and make it, like, for 13-year-olds.” 
Noah becomes a stalker obsessed, violent, and you can absolutely guess the rest. Even though Cohen stated that he wanted to "reinvent the [erotic thriller] genre in an entertaining way" that would reflect "2015, not 1990,” he does not. Tropes flourish in TBND.
Noah does make use of modern technology to blackmail, stalk, and intimidate Claire, but TBND is devoid of anything ‘inventive’. Claire still does the same things you’ve seen in other erotic thrillers that make you smack your forehead and mutter, “too stupid to live!” 
Thankfully, TBND doesn’t take itself seriously. Winking velveeta lines and a swiss cheese plot could have led to “so bad, it’s good” territory, but TBND never fully commits. I look forward to the day TBND is featured on How Did This Get Made.
Maria Jackson
Review by Maria Jackson
Follow her @ Twitter
Friend her @ Facebook