If I would have picked an Idol judge for a movie comeback it would have been Harry Connick Jr. but maybe that’s just me. “Let’s kick the tires, and light the fires, Big Daddy” Anyone?
“The Boy Next Door” is the return of Jennifer Lopez to the big screen this time as a middle aged teacher who finds herself in a compromising situation with a student and the twists and turns that happen when she tries to fix her mistake. The movie is about weakness and temptation, about obsession and pursuit, and about 90 minutes of over the top nonsense that you’ve seen a million times before.
And maybe that’s the good thing about The Boy Next Door, it’s only 90 minutes. The movie moves us through this story quickly and doesn’t drag out the proceedings. I’m not even kidding, for a movie this derivative and this paint by numbers, it’s a bit of a miracle that I didn’t really feel bored by it. Of course it could have just been in the same way you don’t get bored looking at any train wreck, but whatever the case I didn’t find my mind wandering much as the movie unspooled.
Of course I did find my mind wondering. Wondering things like, is J Lo actually a good actor or is everyone else around her just over acting so hard she looks restrained? Which is especially disappointing when one of those over-actors is Kristin Chenoweth, who I think is super talented, but after this I wonder if singing on stage is where she should stay. But it wasn’t just her, seriously, this was like spanish soap opera meets Nicholas Sparks level melodrama most of the time. Of course that is, if Sparks had decided to write fatal attraction, and left all the R rated sex and violence in the film adaptation. It’s just all so serious and yet all so blandly uninventive. You’d think a stalker type thriller would have at least some new things to add to the genre, but nope this is as predictable as it gets. You will see every move coming a mile away, which of course makes it even more unbelievable and frustrating when J-Lo doesn’t. Seriously, that has to be the worst thing about this movie, it has a terminal case of SPS. Stupid Protagonist Syndrome. How am I supposed to root for you, when you keep making decisions that are absolutely moronic? You can tell a movie suffers from SPS when you want to yell at the character on screen for their choices. And if it weren’t for not wanting to disturb the nice couple sitting two rows in front of me at my screening I imagine I might have come out of this one a little bit hoarse.
At the end of the day, “The Boy Next Door” is as derivative and melodramatic as they come. It hits all the stalker thriller notes that have come before it with not much new or interesting to add. It’s only because they managed to keep it quick that it escapes with it’s life and a D-