THE BOY NEXT DOOR REVIEW

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The horror, the horror!

Oh boy. NEXT!

1 star for J-Lo. 1 for the laughs.

I think this film proved only one thing. J-Lo is still looking mighty fine at 45.

Anyway, critical cap back on.

I went in expecting nothing and was rewarded with . . . nothing.

To be honest,  all the slating on IMDb really did make me dread this.

It was watchable. BUT oh so laughable.

My doubts crept in from the badly edited and poorly dubbed flashback opening sequence that quickly summed up that John Corbett (Sex and the City) had been cheating on Jenny from the Block.

Director Rob Cohen certainly tried his best to skim through all the predictable back story guff to get to the juicy stuff BUT by doing so made it even cornier and naffer!

Seriously it rushed along too much that you couldn’t really take it seriously.

I certainly wasn’t bored. BUT it felt like someone was fast forwarding one of those late night TV movie thrillers.

Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) was looking rough. Bearing in mind she is only two years older than Jen.

However, she manages to make as memorable a turn as she can as J-Lo’s BFF.

Ryan Guzman’s entrance (Step Up: All In) was corny as hell.

A frustrated J-Lo struggling with a broken garage door. The door looks set to crush our dozy and ill fated heroine.

Cue handsome muscle bound stranger. Insufferable drooling and cringeworthy dialogue.

It made me laugh that J-Lo’s character lets her son go off with said stranger without asking any real questions until he is gone. Nice one, Mom.

Lopez and Guzman don’t have bad chemistry BUT the poor set up and execution  felt like something you would expect to see in a certain adult movie.

The film does its best to zip along through the predictable soapy elements.

Guzman plays the mysterious and charismatic boy next door quite well.

However, we have to chug through the endless staring and checking each other out.

J-Lo biting her top lip. Guzman walking around any house and lawn in stereotypical greased up mechanic gear, white t-shirt or no shirt. Bleurgh.

The inevitable bonding between Claire (Lopez) and Noah (Guzman) over little things was so bad. Seriously their conversation over literature was unbelievably cheesy.

And then the son goes away with dear old dad for the weekend and while the cats away, you get the picture.

The leads deliver a raunchy encounter. BUT then the film takes a predictable turn. And one that didn’t quite come off that well.

The premise is a MTV take on Fatal Attraction.

BUT that’s the rub. Fatal Attraction was slow burning, tense, suspenseful. The ending . . . wow!

This was just utterly bonkers.

Claire instantly regrets the one night stand while Noah has other plans.

His sudden change in behaviour was too quick. Too volatile.

The film had a chance to be a slow burning thriller BUT the writer and director couldn’t be that bothered with the build up.

The little mind games were watchable enough.

Corbett’s love cheat trying to get back with the family. Noah dropping suggestive one liners. Seriously, the “I love your mother’s cookies” and “we got pretty wet last night” (Implying the storm) felt like expired American Pie gags.

The games soon crank up to 11 within a matter of a few scenes. Too sporadic. Fast, frantic and violent.

BUT it always felt and looked like nothing more than a bad B-movie that you wouldn’t expect to see on the big screen.

I have seen a lot worse. This at least breezed through and didn’t infuriate me. It was just funny for all the wrong reasons.

I mean, the allergy scene with Claire’s son (Ian Nelson)? Hardly spoilers. Noah goads him into having a fit. BUT Guzman’s reactions were so OTT.

You actually couldn’t work out if that was an accident or planned?

The music was silly. It really didn’t help add any tension. In fact it killed what little Cohen mustered.

You could write a checklist of things that Noah will do to spite Claire and tick them off while watching.

The sneaking around Noah’s house was a little tense. That was until Claire’s neighbour walked in. A scream off. A nervous knife wielding J-Lo hiding in her kitchen.

The son’s reaction when he walks in on a screaming J-Lo. (No, not like that). Priceless. “Hey Mom, what’s with the knife?”

The explosive finale was relentless and incredibly violent. It’s a shame that it just ends so abruptly. No, seriously. It just ends. Job done.

Rob Cohen does his best with a B movie. Which doesn’t say a lot. Yes, he directed XXX and The Fast and The Furious but he was also the guy that brought us Stealth, The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Alex Cross. Yeah . . .

It’s OTT, corny and ridiculous. If you want a laugh or something to “hate watch”, then I give you The Boy Next Door.

J-Lo does her best and her acting isn’t that bad. In comparison to Gigli, well . . .

It would be nice to see her with a good script. If she still acts like this, then I will throw in the towel.

It’s watchable for all the bad rap it got.

BUT it’s still pretty bad.

2/5

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NEED FOR SPEED REVIEW

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I feel the need, the need . . . to review this film, yo! We’ve seen the story before but where it lacks in that department (I mean, come on, it’s a car movie), it cooks up octane action and special effects with real cars in proper car chases without CGI, making this one to watch and I’m sure regardless of reviews, it will be breaking bad at the box office. What? Not subtle enough. It’s tough not to compare it to the Fast and Furious franchise and you can’t help but feel things might have been copied but it just about stands it’s ground and manages to still be an enjoyable ride. Check it out, bitch!

What’s it about then, san? Fresh from prison after being framed by a wealthy business associate (Dominic Cooper – Fleming), street racer Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad) joins a cross country race seeking vengeance. However, when said business associate learns of the plan, he places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins.

That’s the gist and you pretty much get that from the trailers. The opening 30 minutes sets up the vengeance seeking plot in which we follow Marshall, a struggling debt stricken mechanic who supes up old Gran Torinos and shows them off in street races. It’s all the same old cliched set up. Brooding shots, slow motion as he mourns father’s loss. The typical banter between his rag tag team of mechanics. The rivalry with the guy who got it all, even the girl. Michael Keaton’s irritating radio DJ narrating the obvious rivalry between Marshall and wealthy hot shot Dino Brewster (Cooper). Paul and Cooper are likeable leads and play their parts well. Cooper is exceptionally shady and sly and passes off a good accent. Marshall’s rag tag team of misfits, however, feel like a loosely based rip off of the Fast and Furious ensemble. The ultra cool Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi is really annoying, and feels like he’s trying to do his best Tyrese Gibson impression. The others, if not for a couple of moments of craziness, were hardly memorable which is a shame, considering the talent (Rami Malek – 24/The Pacific and Ramon Rodriguez – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen).

However, the main stars are the cars. I mean Koenigsegg Agira R, Torinos, Lamborghini Elemento and a suped up Ford Mustang. Cracking cars. This is where the points are gained. The chase and race sequences are fantastic to watch. The camera angles are frantic, fast and really make you feel like you’re in the car. The build up in the opening race with the heart beat pounding, the engines revving and the first person shots are fantastic. That pause before the cars pull off or make a dicey movie. Brilliant. Waugh makes the city his playground. There were a few unexpected moments that stood out in 3D but not a huge investment. The race and chase sequences are very much faithful to the style of video game franchise; without feeling like you’re watching someone playing it. A noticeable nod to the EA franchise can be spotted, of course. I was surprised in the opening credits, they didn’t say EA Films. Challenge everything. One for the gamers.

The earlier city race sequence through the alley ways and underpasses is brilliantly done and brilliantly shot. Cudos to the cinematography of Shane Hurlbut. The earlier races are very reminiscent of the old car chase movies. A homage to the infamous Steve McQueen Bullitt chase flashes across the screen at the Drive Thru as the racers get ready. The Koenigsegg Agira R race sequence was incredible and what a stunning car. I’m not the biggest car lover but wow. A predictable and inevitable tragedy still surprises and catches your breath as Marshall is set up by Brewster, leading to a corny, OTT but thrilling ride. It can be patchy at parts (It drags). At two hours, it pushes it a little bit. However, it’s soon relieved by a thrilling chase here. A police car flagging up there. Pretty much like Need for Speed: Most Wanted. One of my favourite games.

The locations are perfectly selected for some cracking sequences. The cliff ambush being a particular highlight minus the ridiculous cliff hanger involving the Mustang and an Apache helicopter. Granted it was actually done and wasn’t CGI’d (well only to insert Paul and Poots). I didn’t think this film could deliver more cheese than the Fast and Furious franchise. It had an opportunity to be slicker and darker but went for the schmaltzy, corny route. It doesn’t spoil the sequences with chained safes, flipping oil tankers and bridge leaps as the later Furious films did but it certainly served it up with the characters. Some of the ‘banter’ comes with the odd chuckle, other moments are just stupid. The beautiful Imogen Poots manages to charm and annoy in alternate scenes leaving you on the fence about her. I think I liked her by the end. Her first meeting with Paul being a predictable corny set up, once again poking fun at the dumb posh English girl spiel. Wait a minute, she knows about cars? She said some things about engines. Shock horror! Come on guys, really? And Keaton may tried to Beetlejuice his role up (seriously) but he just recites what we’re all thinking. If it weren’t the fact, the big race was his creation, his character would have been pointless. Well, it already was.

It’s hammy, a little long, corny, OTT but despite all that, the chases are superbly shot, the action is tense, suspenseful, helped by a likeable lead. Just should have used the Fast and Furious as a guide book not a template. However, it’s all still watchable, with the odd tut or sigh. Can’t help but compare it to the F&F, it does stand along some of their weaker entries, which were still good. So 3 (just) out of 5!

Currently ranks #74 out of 153!