Trash city. So this is about a teacher in a failing marriage (Jennifer Lopez). She’s trying to make it work as best she can, being that they have a son and all, but a big wrench is thrown into her plan when a tempting new student (Ryan Guzman) moves in next door. Let’s just say he’s hot for teacher to the point of being an obsessed stalker, which puts her in a delicate position. Looking at the release date on this, it is very easy to read between the lines on this. Timing this to come out three weeks prior to Fifty Shades of Grey was not a coincidence; they are vying for the same exact demographic, and you never want to cannibalize your own audience.
Clearly they wanted to come across as the appetizer to the main course… An appe-teaser, if you will.
You can tell very early on that this is going to be an unintentionally hilarious kind of movie; you have lines that the actors can’t do anything with, and it is trashy and sleazy at every turn. It reminded me a lot of 2009’s Obsessed in that this an indefensible film, but you can have a good time with the trashy soap opera-y drama behind it all. Not that I think that anybody had high expectations on this, but it still feels like an opportunity missed; with all of the stories popping up these days with teachers committing lewd acts of infidelity with their students, you would think that this would stand the chance of actually being able to make a relevant point about society as a whole, or give a pointed commentary on our education system, but no, this is just a tawdry story that you can completely take at face value.
I kept waiting for a twist… Like a reason why this 30-year-old man is in high school.
I can see this movie working for two types of people: 1. Bored single mothers who don’t have a lot going on, looking for a little bit of excitement in their life, or 2. A group of friends getting together, having a few cold ones and talking over the thinly written dialogue MST3K style when appropriate. The writing in this is ridiculous, as it is always interested in escalating the situation to the next level. While it is funny, it’s still creepy, which I suppose is the intention. At least you can say that J-Lo still looks good for 45, but other than being a movie to drunkenly make fun of and laugh at, there’s not much else going on here.
The Boy Next Door (2015) **
– Critic for Hire