The Boy Next Door, film review: Jennifer Lopez stars in absurd, half-baked erotic thriller

(15) Rob Cohen, 91 mins Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Ian Nelson, Kristin Chenoweth
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The Independent Culture

Rob Cohen's half-baked erotic thriller plays like a misguided homage to Eighties video fare and to family-in-peril sagas like Unlawful Entry or Cape Fear. Jennifer Lopez plays Claire Peterson, a mom and a high-school English literature teacher who likes her Homer and her Virgil. Her husband (Corbett) has been cheating on her and they've separated, leaving her home alone with her troubled teenage son.

She is neglected and vulnerable when 19-year-old hunk Noah (Ryan Guzman) moves next door to tend his sick uncle. He is handsome, good at DIY, quotes The Iliad and says nice things about her cookies. Cue the torrid and immediately regretted one-night stand, filmed as if it's an outtake from 9½ Weeks.

The first half plays like a camp reworking of Lady Chatterley with Noah as contemporary LA's answer to the gamekeeper. In the second half, the film changes tack entirely as the darker, more psychopathic side of Noah's personality comes into focus. The film's absurdity is its one consistent aspect, although Cohen (director of The Fast and the Furious) deserves a certain credit for stoking up the tension.