Thursday, 5 March 2015

REVIEW - THE BOY NEXT DOOR (ROB COHEN)


A movie that's basically just one big mega-lol, save for when it's basically just one big bore, which is unfortunately often. Thankfully, a pervasive void of self-awareness allows The Boy Next Door to qualify as an ultimate camp classic of its time, an exercise in vanity-fuelled star-worship that delivers on so many more fronts than it can even comprehend. The supreme idiocy of Barbara Curry's script engenders characters and scenarios that only don't beggar belief in the context of the dozens of other suburban thrillers that have directly inspired this one. Curry has a knack for under-developing every notion that finds its way into her screenplay, relying on our weary anticipation of the expected to enliven her conceits. Our anticipation is primed, due to Rob Cohen's vapid assimilation of movie directing, but nothing can enliven this turgid mess of a film. Nothing, that is, except everything! Objectively, gosh no, The Boy Next Door is a risible film, but its ignominious drop to the bottom of the barrel ends with a fabulously fortuitous landing, as it fits very neatly into the famed 'so-bad-it's-good' sub-group of films. And there's a perverse artistry behind the qualities that render it thus: the dedication toward perfecting Jennifer Lopez's hairstyle no matter what the circumstances, the calibration of her character as the epitome of all that middle-class American mothers aspire to (her invisible spontaneous food dispenser is an imaginary highlight), one defining shot that is lit specifically to showcase Lopez's upper thigh... in fact, The Boy Next Door functions best as an ode to Lopez's arse. That gets boring after 90 minutes, no doubt, but it also qualifies this film as a bona fide camp classic. It's the worst film that I want to revisit, but at least I want to at all.