The Boy Next Door | Film review - J Lo's sultry schoolmarm has a Homer-quoting hunk for a stalker

The Boy Next Door - Jennifer Lopez & Ryan Guzman

Putting her best pout forward, Jennifer Lopez throws herself into hilariously bad psychological thriller The Boy Next Door, possibly in a wilful bid to make a cinematic stinker that would obliterate memories of her 2003 folly Gigli.

She’s unfeasibly sultry schoolmarm Claire, newly separated from her cheating husband (John Corbett) and briefly tempted by the studly charms of the 19-year-old hunk called Noah (Ryan Guzman) who has just moved in next door.  Having impressed her wimpy son (Ian Nelson) with his cool swagger, he turns his charms on Claire herself, flexing both his biceps and his ability to quote Homer after inveigling his way into the high-school ‘classics’ class she teaches.

The Boy Next Door - Ryan Guzman & Jennifer Lopez

Sure enough, he turns out to be a deranged bunny-boiling stalker, which is bad news for Claire and even worse for her nearest and dearest. For the viewer, however, Noah is the source of considerable merriment, not least for his way with such smirking, innuendo-laden quips as 'I love your mother's cookies' and 'It got pretty wet here.’

For the most part, The Boy Next Door has been thrown together so lazily that you feel no-one involved with the project, save the game Lopez, gave a hoot about the movie’s blatant shoddiness, yet lines like these hint that director Rob Cohen and writer Barbara Curry may have had an inkling that they were producing a future camp classic.


Certificate 15. Runtime 91 mins. Directors Rob Cohen.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.