Oh lordy, where do I even begin with this one? No offence to Jennifer Lopez, but she’s not often cast in the best films. I didn’t expect this one to be groundbreaking exactly, but I thought it might have the easy appeal of some of her other films, where you know you’re not going to get a killer storyline or great acting but it’ll be fairly enjoyable and pass the time without taxing any brain cells. The Boy Next Door, however, is quite possibly the most awful film I’ve ever seen on the big screen. I’ve genuinely never come so close to walking out on a film in the cinema.
The trailer looked kind of promising: Jennifer Lopez has a fling with the good looking boy next door, who proceeds to stalk her, break into her house, and generally be creepy. It looked like a fun (easy) thriller, but it was just ridiculous beyond belief. We could tell within the first few minutes that it was going to be terrible, as it opened with a host of super cringey and badly executed flashbacks running through the events of the previous year. I have to say none of the acting was anywhere near what could be considered ‘top notch’, but it did seem especially bad in those flashback scenes. The dialogue was also pretty terrible, and failed to improve at any point.
With regards to continuity, it was basically missing throughout. At one point Noah punches a wall and has a bloodied hand, but in the next scene it’s completely healed, only to be bloody again a few scenes later. Kevin walks into the hardware shop and gives the girl who works there a whole list of things he needs to buy, and then leaves without actually buying anything, or even picking anything off of the shelf. There were various other mistakes in terms of the plot which just pushed everything too far into the realms of unbelievable for me. For a start, I don’t believe for a second that a police officer would happily agree to showing a classics teacher a burnt out car which is still being held as police evidence, and which she had absolutely no reason to justify seeing. I also don’t believe that a student could beat another student to the point where he fractures his skull and, as the vice principle shouts, “nearly killed him!” while on the school premises without the police being called. (Plus I find it rather unbelievable that J-Lo would always look so glamorous, she didn’t even have a hair out of place when her best friend’s dead and bloodied body landed on her! If I could look that unruffled all the time, I’d be laughing!) Then there’s all the stupid decisions that Claire made which led to me repeatedly asking “why would you do that?” I know sometimes that’s an asset with horror/thriller movies because there’s something to be said for keeping the audience on the edge of their seats while they know something awful’s going to happen, but it was all a bit clumsy and daft in this case.
My sister thought it could have done with a bit more violence in it, because the violent scenes at least made it a bit more exciting (even when they were totally absurd) and at least meant we were briefly spared the terrible dialogue. The ending was far too over the top for me though, and not in a good way. I could just about cope with Noah being stabbed in the eye with an epi-pen, horrid though that was, but the whatever-it-was falling from the ceiling onto his head struck me as so cartoonish that I couldn’t help bursting out laughing for the remainder of the film. I suppose in one way at least the film brought some entertainment value, but I highly doubt that was the way intended. What bothered me most about the whole film though was the fact that Classics got dragged into the sorry mess. As a former Classics and Ancient History student myself, I have a lot of love for Homer, but I feel like he and The Iliad have been sullied by being included in such a load of rubbish. It’s a good thing I’ve got my Cineworld card now, I’d have been pretty peeved if I had to spend full price on that tosh!
See previous Film Review featuring The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.