The Boy Next Door (2015)

(Video on Demand, July 2015)  I’m not sure what’s inadvertently funnier: Jennifer Lopez in a role where she gets romantically involved with a much younger man (this is one instance when knowing the tabloid persona of the actor is detrimental to the film) or seeing the filmmakers bend themselves in pretzels pretending that this is a so-called “erotic thriller” when this isn’t much more than a schlocky fatal-attraction horror film.  The Boy Next Door’s plot feels intensely familiar, as a middle-aged mom sleeps with a young man and find herself the object of his unwanted attention.  It doesn’t take long for family, friends and pets to be threatened by a psychotic caricature of an antagonist, all the way to a bloody confrontation.  Not a lot separates The Boy Next Door from countless cheap made-for-cable thrillers, other than having Lopez’s bankable name on the marquee.  It certainly skirts the so-bad-it’s-good category, as nearly every minor jolt is underscored in the bluntest way possible.  (There’s a classroom sequence that’s, ahem, special.)  Lopez looks good, but otherwise there isn’t much to play here –and having seen her in a similar role a dozen years ago in Enough is, well, enough.  The film does have an entertainment value at odds with its qualities, but that’s the kind of compliment that leaves you guilty the next morning.

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