Jennifer Lopez in Thriller

January 22, 2015 3:37 PM

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Jennifer Lopez in Thriller

On its face, The Boy Next Door is a perfect example of the very sort of movie that’s dumped in January. It looks cheaply made and has a plot hinging on provocation and contrivance far more than good sense or good taste. It’s, shockingly, the schlockiest possible iteration of the elevator pitch, “What if Jennifer Lopez had a one-night stand with her teenage neighbor, and then he got violent?” It’s hard to decide the movie’s best screamer: Is it that Lopez teaches “AP Classics”? That her paramour-turned-stalker knows how to remotely control printers, and uses this superpower to humiliate her? Any of the jaw-droppingly lewd come-ons in the film’s trailer? The Boy Next Door is not meant to be good. But its release should be applauded nonetheless.

Let’s be clear: It’d probably be a victory for Hollywood if the projects it gave to actresses as charismatic as Lopez were better than The Boy Next Door. But many, many movies are as bad or worse; that is, The Boy Next Door is not exceptional in a film landscape where there have been three Takens. T...

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