“It’s a passion project,” says Jennifer Lopez of her new film

She has a hot and steamy sex session with a younger actor in the film which she co-produced with her producing partner Benny Medina. For 43-year old global superstar Jennifer Lopez, the psychological thriller, “The Boy Next Door” was something she felt she needed to do. “It was a good character to play at this time and it kinda fit perfectly for me,” Lopez says.”

In the film, Lopez plays Claire, a high school literature teacher struggling to get back in the dating game after separating from a cheating spouse.  She meets Noah (Ryan Guzman), a charismatic 19-year-old student/neighbor. He helps her fix a broken garage door, teaches her 17-year-old son Kevin (Ian Nelson) how to talk to girls and is soon a regular at the house for dinner. Very quickly they establish a rapport and a one-night stand follows. Noah falls in love. Claire doesn’t. He stalks her. She tries to keep the liaison a secret, but events soon spiral out of control.

It’s a clear-cut simple story that’s familiar in cinema sans any twists.

The film aims for unease and does achieve it plus the gradual progression of obsession works quite well. The young Ryan Guzman is very effective as the perfectly charismatic and complimentary psycho whose charming and flirtatious demeanor turns quickly into a dangerous, violent obsession. It’s engaging to watch him go from the boy next door to a sociopath and become increasingly unhinged, progressing from stalking to physical attacks.

“We did it on a micro budget for four million dollars and shot it in 25 days,” continues Lopez. “It’s very empowering as an artist to know you can make a film that way. To know that you can pick material that maybe big studios won’t pick up or cast these actors in and know you can do it in your own way.”

Jennifer Lopez as Claire


Director Rob Cohen (“The Fast and the Furious”) has created a set of initially believable characters, placed them in a familiar situation, and then drastically upped the stakes. Unfortunately, motivations, psychological concerns and common sense are thrown out the window, which means the end is less than satisfying. Once he’s established the circumstances and the dastardly deed occurs we then merely follow a man scorned as he tries to get revenge for getting the brush-off.

“It’s a nail-biting thriller that is exciting to watch and it keeps you on the edge of your seat,” shares Lopez.


Unfortunately, we will have to disagree with Ms. Lopez on that for the thriller aspects of the story and suspense don’t lead up to a satisfying climactic showdown. It’s a formulaic thriller that offers no twists. On the Trendy meter movie scale “The Boy Next Door” gets 2 out of 5.

Samantha Ofole-Prince is an entertainment industry specialist and contributes to Trendy Africa Magazine from Los Angeles.



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