The Boy Next Door has surprised many moviegoers. Not only has it received a fair portion of positive reviews, rather than the universal critical disdain that was expected, but it has also garnered press attention for being incredibly racy. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not actually that racy at all.
The trailers for The Boy Next Door, and the fact that the movie is R-rated have suggested that Jennifer Lopez would be getting up to all kinds of raunchy antics in the erotic thriller. Meanwhile, Lopez herself hasn’t been shy about promoting just how racy some of the new film's scenes are. In fact, this probably did a good deal of heavy lifting it getting the movie to quadruple its budget at the box office during its opening weekend. In actuality, however, the movie - which revolves around Jennifer Lopez’s Claire Peterson being stalked and progressively harassed by her next door neighbor Noah (Ryan Guzman) after a one-night stand - is surprisingly tame.
There is one borderline explicit sex scene in The Boy Next Door. In this part of the film, director Rob Cohen and Jennifer Lopez (who also serves as a producer on the project) certainly do make sure to show off the actress’ famous curves, and you'll also probably be taken aback by just how long, passionate and intimate the sequence becomes. I would go into any of the nitty gritty details, but suffice to say it will probably get you a little hot under the collar. There's also a brief but steamy scene later on, and while I don’t want to give too much away due to spoilers, it involves a preposterously young-looking girl and an implied act of what we’ll politely call fellatio. And while Jennifer Lopez shows off plenty of cleavage, unless you’re a 13-year-old boy, you should be able to contain yourself. Beyond that, however, The Boy Next Door is actually largely run-of-the-mill stuff.
Truthfully, within the realms of the erotic thriller genre, The Boy Next Door leans much heavier on the "thriller" than the "erotic." And, despite its many foibles, there’s enough in it to make it an enjoyable watch - most notably Noah's transformation into a full-blown psychopath. Putting more emphasis on the violence portion of the R-rating than the sexual material, the film has multiple brutal sequences, as we see Ryan Guzman’s character pulverize bullies that are half the size of him, sexually assault Claire in her own kitchen, and more.
But that wouldn’t sell The Boy Next Door, and it seems that Jennifer Lopez and the other folks behind the film were smart enough to see that. They must have been aware that any film that labels itself as an erotic thriller is going to have more success selling the sex than the violence. Of course, this allows Jennifer Lopez to have her cake and eat it too, as she is able to both sell her movie and not cross any too-personal boundaries.
The box office success of The Boy Next Door has done its work to prove that ol' adage about sex selling, but beyond that it could wind up triggering a cinematic renaissance for Jennifer Lopez. The numbers suggest that Jennifer Lopez is still a hugely popular cinematic commodity - especially when it’s suggested that she has shed her clothes.