Friday, January 23, 2015

The Boy Next Door [2015]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChicagoTribune (1 1/2 Stars) (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

The Boy Next Door [2015] (directed by Rob Cohen, screenplay by Barbara Curry), released as it was in late January is a B-movie that was never intended to be "Oscar caliber."  However, if nothing else it can serve as _a deterrent_ to any 30 or 40 something high school teacher who may be tempted by a, um ... "mature his age" HOT "transfer student" who suddenly shows-up on the scene "one day like any other day."

Now it may seem kinda obvious "in retrospect" that "a transfer student" CAN "have a history ..."

... but, when said überhunk, Noah (played by "unnaturally" even perhaps "prison buff" (!) Ryan Guzman) moves-in next door, when it's still summer, and he's out there, sweaty, working (with "his tools"), on,  um, "his car," "tuning her up," making "her run ... (um...) better" (one could go on for a while here ;-)  in a distractingly torn t-shirt, with all those pecks and biceps glistening there in the summer's sun, it can get _rather distracting_ to late 30-something early 40-something high school lit teacher "of the classics" named Claire Peterson (played quite well actually by Jennifer Lopez), the mother of a still somewhat awkward teenage son Kevin (played by Ian Nelson) and going through some fairly serious marital problems with hubby, Garrett (played by John Corbett), a silicon valley / middle management sort of guy, who's _also_ coming-up against and _not_ dealing particularly well (at all) with "the onset of middle age."

Well, one thing leads to another ... Kevin and Garrett go off on a late summer "father / son camping weekend trip," Claire somewhat lazily has herself "one too many glasses of wine."  Noah comes to the door for some stupid reason and somewhat inappropriately late that evening, then "there's a storm" and ... sigh ... "mistakes are made" ...

The rest of the movie follows ...

To some extent Jennifer Lopez' role is a conflation of Michael Douglas' role in Fatal Attraction [1987] and Kevin Spacey's in American Beauty [1999]).  Kevin Spacey in particular traversed similar territory in his film, when his character found himself, middle aged, recently downsized, with marital problems, suddenly _way, way more attracted than he really should have_ to the "cheerleader classmate" of his teenage daughter, finding himself focused _on her_ "out there" on the floor "performing" (_next to his daughter_ and the rest of the squad) going "Rah, Rah, GO TEAM" at some random high school basketball game...). 

Then after "the Mistake was made" ... _the current film_ becomes a _searing reminder_ (again...) to ANYONE that one _really, really shouldn't sleep_ with someone who one _really doesn't know_.  Those "long walks along the beach, holding hands, and just talking" (and LISTENING) to each other and each other's dreams do have a purpose ... ;-) ... and, oh yeah, ONE CERTAINLY SHOULDN'T GO TO BED WITH A _MINOR_ (!!) NO MATTER HOW "HOT" OR "IN NEED OF SUPPORT" HE/SHE MAY SEEM (Though the issue of Noah's maturity is actually "finessed" somewhat ... perhaps to get an a-list actress like Lopez to take the role ... it's clear that "Noah" would NORMALLY be certainly "underage", hence A MINOR / "JAIL (!!) BAIT").

Anyway, this _is_ a B-movie, and it's _intended to be_ a B-movie.  But it may, in fact, "scare the daylights" out of vulnerable people approaching middle age, who otherwise, might be tempted to do some really stupidly (!) tragic things.  And in that sense, it's not necessarily that bad of a movie to for adults in that approaching middle-age range.

Parents do note that the R-rating is certainly appropriate due to the theme.  Besides, would you want your teens seducing your neighboring "Mrs. Robinsons" ... ?

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