The Boy Next Door Movie Review
It only took six months, but I finally was able to watch the incredible, amazing epic that is The Boy Next Door. I had heard the rumors, I had heard the buzz, but had been unable to personally experience the awesomeness that is the awesome The Boy Next Door.
Jennifer Lopez usually makes terrible movies. Frankly, she’s as good of an actress as she is a singer. Hell, she’s as good of an actress as she is an “American Idol” judge. But by God does she turn in one hell of a terrific performance here, playing a troubled teacher who sleeps with the wrong 19-year-old man-boy-chiseled-abs. The nuance she brings to the role is beyond belief, her skill on par with that of Meryl Streep or Tara Reid. The pain her character goes through, the dramatic evolution she experiences, is beyond comparison.
And then there’s Ryan Guzman, who plays the title character with calculating precision, who oozes with sexiness and craziness and Homer quotes, not of the Simpsons variety. Guzman is vaguely aware that he is playing a villain, a psychopath if you will, and it’s that vague awareness that puts him several notches above Javier Bardem-cum-No Country for Old Men in the acting department. He acts so fucking amazing, he’s even able to pull off a scene in which his character gives Lopez a first edition print of “The Iliad,” because only awesome men-boys like that can find first editions that don’t exist for a dollar at a garage sale.
To some, the actual plot may be cliché, even stupid. A teacher has a fling with her 19-year-old high school student, and then he turns out to be a psychopath dedicated to making her life a living hell, all in the name of love. Been there, done that. But if you look beneath the surface, at the tenderness of the characters and the soul of the story, you’ll understand that no movie has been written with more craft and precision than The Boy Next Door. Yes, Lopez’s character refuses to go to the police and defies every survival instinct most of us innately have, but her apparent stupidity is just a ruse to make us want her to survive victorious even more.
Kudos to first-time screenwriter Barbara Curry. Kudos. You have written this generation’s Citizen Kane.
The Boy Next Door may appear to be a poorly written, awfully acted, cliché-ridden erotic thriller, but if that’s all you see, then you simply didn’t get it. It means you are a stupidhead who is unworthy of such brilliance.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.