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Boy Next Door, The


Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Kristin Chenoweth, Ian Nelson, Lexi Atkins

Director: Rob Cohen

Where to start with something as hilariously bad as this? And, if you think J-Lo is unlikely casting as a classics teacher, then squeaky Chenoweth is spectacularly miscast as the vice-principal of her school.

It is she who encourages Lopez, separated from her philandering husband (Corbett from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and living with her teenage son (Nelson, truly average) to date. But the teacher, slipping around in plunging vests or off-the-shoulder nighties, has eyes for the hunky 19-year-old (Guzman, from Step Up films) just moved in next door, ogling his chiselled pecs (and a lot more) from across the way, while trying on steeply-high heels.

With son and ex-hubby off on a fishing trip, Guzman calls Lopez across to look at his roast chicken (I kid you not) and a torrid night of sex ensues. Lopez has plans to repent at leisure for this, but the psychotic Guzman has no intention of letting anything drop but his knickers.

He buys her a 'first edition' of Homer's Iliad (shouldn't this be on papyrus?) and sends her flowers, before it turns out he has video'd their entire late-night conscious coupling, and festoons photos of it across her classroom.

Lopez, soon suspecting that her (ex-) lover murdered his father and has attempted to kill her own son and ex by tampering with their car's brakes, sneaks into his home to get a look at his chicken, sorry, computer.

Chenoweth warns her that 'the psycho's on his way. You've got five minutes' - so she stays in the house and goes down in the cellar, as you would.

The ending is quite exciting in its ludicrous way and gets the film its one star. But J-Lo is hopelessly adrift in a role that would defeat Meryl Streep, while Guzman is so bad one fears for his future career. The real villain, however, is Barbara Curry's script, and it would be nice to think the actors didn't read it in advance.

Despite the steamy sex scene between the stars, The Boy Next Door is 50 shades of awful. Even the studio rain is unconvincing.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Feb 2015