There is a stigma, almost always appropriate, against teachers dating students. It’s horrific for elementary students through high school students and simply frowned upon by faculty when professors/instructors date college students. However, this stigma is entirely dependent on the ick factor that is all but certainly biologically ingrained in our DNA to protect children (remember when twelve was the marrying age? Neither do I). This may seem like a rant, and in some cases it is, because while I completely against pedophilia I found the basic inciting incident of The Boy Next Door to be unbelievable at best and laughable at worst. It is blatantly pointed out that Ryan Guzman’s character (Noah) is nineteen when he goes to the high school where Jennifer Lopez (Clair) teaches English. Suddenly the stigma is cast aside because, while we are looking at a high school student having an affair with his teacher, he is well above the age of consent and almost to the age of majority (depending on which state you live in because they may or may not be the same thing!).
I totally understand what goes through our minds when we think of older women sleeping with younger men (for some reason it’s never the same things for when and older, and often uglier, man is sleeping with a younger woman *cough, cough*Hugh Hefner*cough, cough*), but he’s an adult and so is she. Thus I couldn’t really get behind her logic of it being wrong outside of her just being a teacher and him being a student… So by the time it was revealed he was a psychopath I was really thinking… REALLY?!
Now that we’ve gotten past that I have to say I’m really digging Ryan Guzman as of late, he’s really starting to come up in the world of acting from Pretty Little Liars (SQUEE!) to two of the Step Up sequels, he’s going places. Jennifer Lopez, in my not so humble opinion, is always a gem even in the strangest of movies I find her in. Now then, I must admit I was surprised to find Kristin Chenoweth in this movie, but it was really refreshing to see her do something (Last time I saw her was on Glee and before that it was Good Christian Bitches, God rest it’s soul). This is clearly Ian Nelson’s first big role, seeing as how a cursory scan of the rest of his work gave only minimal mention of his efforts in his other work, but he played the child of impending (actual?) divorce quite well. John Corbett (From Sex and the City) is also just as good, only he’s playing the philandering father trying to get back with his wife because…. Whatever the reason he did it quite well.
Even though I tore the inciting incident of this film to shreds I really, REALLY loved it. Give it a try and you may be pleasantly surprised, too.