A cheesy TV movie ramped up with language and violence, this sudsy thriller is far more fun to watch than it should be. With its tepid spin on the plot of Fatal Attraction, the film strains to be a bunny-boiler, but entertains the audience because it's so preposterous that not a single moment is remotely believable. And since the cast refuses to play it straight, camping it up while smirking at the camera, it's enjoyable in all the wrong ways.
Jennifer Lopez stars as Claire, a high school teacher who has recently split from her husband Garrett (John Corbett) and is still getting used to life on her own with teen son Kevin (Ian Nelson). Then the astoundingly hunky 19-year-old Noah (played by 27-year-old Ryan Guzman) moves in next door with his invalid uncle (Jack Wallace) after his parents die in a fiery car crash. Super friendly, Noah quickly begins to help Kevin stand up to the school bullies and pursue the hot girl (Lexi Atkins). But Noah also begins to flirt relentlessly with Claire, and in a moment of neediness she gives in. While she sees this as a mildly transgressive restorative fling, Noah thinks it's true love, and pursues her tenaciously. And when Claire begins to trying to patch things up with Garrett, Noah takes Kevin out for a bit of gun practice.
Despite a tendency to drift into grisly violence, there's nothing edgy here. It's a swirling storm of innuendo and suggestion, with a strong sense of menace that never quite convinces us, even with a couple of gruesome plot points. This may be because the camera clearly loves Lopez so much that we know she's never in danger.
Continue reading: The Boy Next Door Review
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