Sometimes you need a movie filled with questionable outfits, clumsy sexual innuendoes, and Jennifer Lopez. The Boy Next Door, the unintentional thriller-comedy with a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, made me laugh harder than even I anticipated, and I went into this hoping for the worst. In case you missed the ads and mockery at its release, Door tells the story of Claire (doe-eyed Lopez), a high school classics teacher whose marriage is falling apart. Meanwhile, she and her son, Kevin (Ian Nelson), befriend the new neighbor, Noah (Ryan Guzman), which leads to everything going horribly wrong. Don’t let the title fool you; Noah is a man. And he will kill you.
Noah’s moved in since his Uncle Bob (Jack Wallace) is getting surgery and needs help (though Uncle Bob seems just fine and then disappears). Noah admits to Kevin that he’s 20 but needs to finish school because of “the accident,” but Claire doesn’t know that Noah could be (and becomes) one of her students, making the window flirting and “family” dinners all the more uncomfortable. It’s an R rated “You Belong With Me,” without the giant notepad. One night, Noah tries to microwave an entire chicken, which leads to Claire making him dinner and being seduced. Their one night stand becomes a regret for Claire and an obsession for Noah, turning him into a J. Crew outfitted stalker with a freaky amount of knowledge regarding computers, Homer, and cars, to name a few.
My notes and thoughts on this movie are all over the place, because the plot is too. Why does Claire look at herself while wearing a silk romper but then change into normal underwear before her double date? Why is Kristin Chenoweth in this film (as a vice principal and Claire’s best friend, and assumedly bronzer-stealer, Vicky) and where did she get that ice cream cone? Who cleaned up the graffiti from Fall Fling? How is Noah still in school after severely beating up an Ed Sheeran lookalike? Honestly if these questions don’t intrigue you, you’re not worthy of Door. It begs to be torn apart and it is such a blast to count the number of muscle shots (I lost track), question how someone covered in gasoline could avoid being caught on fire, wonder how much John Corbett was paid for this… And while the story and acting is comical, the movie remains semi-suspenseful, leading my father at one point to scream, “Whose heart is pounding right now?!” And yes, I watched this with multiple people, including my father. Worth it.