The 10 Most WTF-Worthy Moments From 'The Boy Next Door'
This week Jennifer Lopez stars in "The Boy Next Door," a suburban psychosexual thriller where Lopez plays a recently separated teacher who has an affair with the (legally of-age) boy next door (Ryan Guzman), only to find her on the receiving end of brutal harassment and some profane graffiti (among other things). This is a movie that is so bad that it eclipse its own awfulness and becomes kind of good again. If I had seen it on opening night, in a packed theater full of screaming, susceptible fans, then I probably would have had the time of my life with it. Instead, I was in a stuffy midtown screening room and while there were certainly jolts of approval from the everyday folks the studio sneaked in, it was hard not to snicker in derision every chance we could.
If you're not going to see "Boy Next Door," or maybe if you already have but want to relive the more painfully WTF-worthy moments from the movie, please follow along.
SPOILERS, obviously, abound.
1. The First Ten Minutes
The first ten minutes of "The Boy Next Door," overseen by schlocky action filmmaker Rob Cohen ("Dragonheart," the first "Fast and the Furious," "XXX") are so deliriously inept that a colleague leaned over and said, "Is this the actual movie?" It's an absolute nightmare, full of weird voice over and jarring cuts to either a flashback or a sexual what-if (a la "Eyes Wide Shut") or maybe both. However you slice it, the opening of this movie certainly sets a precedent for the rest of the movie – the precedent being that this is going to be really awful.
2. Jennifer Lopez Is the Most Tube-Top-Wearingest High School Teacher Ever
The movie sets Jennifer Lopez up as this major hard-ass, at least when it comes to her high school literature class. But she also wears an insane amount of tube tops for such a supposedly dowdy profession. (I'm not advocating for stuffy stereotypes to be rigidly reinforced but it just seems at odds with her character, who seems buttoned down and somewhat straight-laced.) This is a character who supposedly threw her husband out for having an affair with a coworker, but allows the camera to linger on her bare thigh as she stares, longingly, out her window. Heterosexual males in the audience will not complain about such leeriness; those who are looking for characters that actually make sense might be displeased.
3. There's This Weird Thing With Chocolate Chip Cookies
At one point Lopez's you-go-girl best friend and vice principle (played with annoying alertness by Kristin Chenoweth) makes note that her now-ex John Corbett referred to the woman that he was having an affair with as "tasting like chocolate chip cookies." I'm not sure how this is physiologically possible or what this even means, really, but they refer to it a few times. And each time I gagged a little.
4. The 'First Edition' of the 'Iliad'
At one point the already-pushy boy next door drops by to give Lopez a "first edition" of Homer's "Iliad," a book that Lopez will be teaching in class that year. She says, "Boy this sure must have been expensive" and he laughs it off as having found it at a garage sale for $1. But wouldn't a "first edition" of the "Iliad" come from ancient Greece and virtually priceless (and, you know, not written in English or resembling something that you grabbed from the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble?) Anybody who has read "The Iliad" or graduated from a high school-level literature class must have thought, What?!?
5. At One Point, a High School Bully Picks on a Kid By Making a Turner Classic Movies Joke
This is 100% true. And then he references "The Wiz," which I'm pretty sure would never, ever air on the premium cable channel. Do teenagers these days even watch TV?
6. 'Bad Cunnilingus Pun'
I don't remember what the pun was, but I wrote this down on my notes, so it must have gotten a WTF-worthy reaction out of me, whatever it was. (It goes without saying that this is the kind of movie that you forget about almost as soon as you leave the theater, or even while watching the movie, especially if you're thinking about other, better movies that are kind of like it.)
7. Automobile Brakes for Dummies
At one point, the boy next door gets particularly evil and tampers with the breaks of John Corbett's sick ride. He's out driving with his son (Ian Nelson) and they seem to be cruising for a little while when -- all of a sudden! -- the brakes go out, leading to a pretty dull little action scene (seriously, this guy directed the first "Fast and Furious"?) but more to the point, makes insanely little sense. Why would the brakes give out then, and not during the rest of the drive? And why would the boy next door, even if he's outright evil and sleeps in a weird psychosexual dungeon underneath his uncle's house, keep a file on his computer pertaining to the brakes of that car (and the car of his parents – who were also mysteriously killed!) I mean part of being a creepy evil stalker is covering your tracks. Come on man!
8. Jennifer Lopez Gets Rid of Evidence Very Quickly
At one point, "the boy next door" (no, his name isn't important) rigs Lopez's printer to endlessly dispense photos of them making love (wait what?) and has also wallpapered her entire room with the same photo. (Yes, he's so creepy he filmed their banging!) Not only does Lopez get rid of all of the evidence rather quickly, she seems to just leave the crumpled up images in her trashcan, leaving the obvious question: What if one of her students wants to, like, throw something away? Oh well, no matter!
9. A Girl Is Referred to as 'The Most Beautiful Girl in School'
Nelson plays Lopez's dweeby son, a kid who is afflicted by a mysterious allergy that nearly kills him in every other scene and who looks like he's several decades from actually hitting puberty. But he refers to a girl that he and the boy next door run into as "the most beautiful girl in school," which is just painful and seemingly left over from some sub-John Hughes romantic comedy of the mid-'80s. What's worse is that he refers to her as that again. Oh, and then to show how evil he is, the boy next door has sex with this same girl (she gets completely naked and is supposed to be a high school junior, which is another level of WTF that I don't even want to get into) while Lopez watches. That dog!
10. The Entire Climax
Where to begin... The climax of "The Boy Next Door" is set in a barn, which is a weird place to set a movie otherwise concerned with the darkness dwelling just underneath the surface of suburban genteelness. It also involves, in no particular order: a fire, Kristin Chenoweth getting her throat slit (off-camera, of course, even though the movie is rated R), Corbett getting tied up, and the boy next door getting stabbed in the eye, in graphic detail, by one of the allergy pens the son uses to combat his mysterious illness. There is so much happening, while at the same time so little actually being conveyed, that it's almost profound.
"The Boy Next Door" is in theaters nationwide.