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The Boy Next Door movie review: A boy starts haunting his teacher
Star Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett
Director: Rob Cohen
BOYS with toned, rippling muscles, clean, short hair and sparkling white teeth, who spend their day in singlets and under car hoods, and who emerge only to quote Homer to their English Literature teacher of the Classics, are rare enough to cherish. When they also tuck their ailing grand uncle into bed and offer to help with the dishes, you must embrace them wholeheartedly.
Teachers with teenage sons who dress equally sparingly, and look as well up to the insides of their thighs, are not to be taken lightly either.
How then can you blame either the former, Noah (Guzman), or the latter, Claire (Lopez)? That’s the point, no one does. Only, once they have had a long and a surprisingly steamy night, despite the Censors, Claire won’t have none of Noah and Noah won’t have none of that.
Giving the woman stalker story a twist, it is the boy who starts haunting his teacher, including stringing up their photographs together in her classroom, pawing her with her estranged husband (Corbett, happily playing second fiddle) and son just out of sight, turning her son against him, and even fiddling with their car brakes.
However, Cohen, the veteran of films such as Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and The Fast and Furious, doesn’t let this develop into what could have been a passable family drama. Instead, it becomes a bloodfest with Noah too abusive and violent even by bad-pretty-boy Hollywood standards. It is also unclear why, after a particularly shocking episode with the vice-principal, Noah still finds himself welcome in Claire’s home.
There is murder and surprising amount of gore, car crashes and knife-wielding, but none of the brewing sexual tension or fraying tempers that could have made this film different.
And that’s despite a handsome effort by Lopez, who is even forced to flaunt J K Rowling to speak up for her chosen profession. On the other hand, she does get her hands on a “collector’s edition of Iliad”.