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I was warned not to go. I should have listened. However I enjoy Jennifer Lopez. I have been a fan since her Fly Girl days. So despite my better judgement, I plunked down three bucks to go see my girl Jenny star in what seemed to be a romantic thriller- The Boy Next Door. I thought it would be a nice popcorn summer thriller flick, in the spring. OY! I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Sigh…where do I begin with what a complete mishmash of a muddled mess this movie is. What struck me was that in 2015 this movie is such a morality tale throwback. I felt like I was watching some public information film from the 50s. Like this Watch out For Homosexuals mess. Boy Next Door is about a high school “classics” English teacher who has everything. She has a handsome husband (Aiden from Sex and the City, and Applebee’s commercial voice over fame), a cute son, and a great job, with Broadway’s Kristin Chenoweth as her best friend (in terrible dark makeup that ages her, and defines wrinkles. It makes the ebullient, always freshly scrubbed, twinkly Chenoweth look like a catchers mit. I wasn’t sure if that was on purpose or not. I’m hoping it was to dim her light to make Lopez shine more. Though Lopez doesn’t need any assistance in the shine department) and Hil Harper as her stand in, all business angry black man principal.
Lopez is going through a rough patch from scene one, as we discover Aiden has cheated on her and they are dealing with the fallout, trying to put the family back together. This seems plausible, though with Lopez running off into the kitchen, bathroom, side room to burst into tears multiple times SO early, it’s the definition of heavy handed. I can’t feel for your character yet because I haven’t learned anything, except that you cry… A LOT. This is the first misogynist idea I despise that this movie perpetuates- women are basket cases and can’t handle pressure. They become overcome with emotion and must run out of rooms to breakdown. This occurs multiple times in the movie.
We fast forward through terrible wooden dialouge to her new next door neighbor moving in. The incredibly oversexed “19” year old male…
Ryan Guzman. Ummm what? THIS cat is 19? Please… Now anyway to make a ridiculous setup even more nuts, this educated woman shares intellectual tastes with this 27 year old masquerading as 19. He quotes from Homer, and boy does that put the educated Lopez into a tizzy. Second Misogynist idea here: No matter how educated and mature, all women can be totally overcome by the simplest cursory look over of Wikipedia level sign of knowledge from a man in something…
Well after Ryan Guzman says that Homer is a “genius like Shakes, Byron, Zeppelin and Dylan” (all white btw. Two POC in a movie only defining classic writers as white men… Stay woke) this cinches it for Lopez, and they have mind numbing earth shattering sex soon. The largest slap to feminisim is a nod to rape culture ideals that this movie completely adheres to. No always means yes when it comes to sex. When Guzman begins to undress Lopez, she routinely says no, and stop, but he continues undaunted. Because what a woman says is never what she means right? No means go ahead, take my panties off, despite my cries. I’ll become overcome by your sexuality and machismo and give in soon… Disgusting. What kind of movie in 2015 reaffirms this sort of garbage? We continue on with another embarrassingly women hating scene where a woman in authority (Chenoweth as an assistant principal) is physically threatened and cussed out by Guzman, completely usurping her power and leaving her cowering and demoralized.
Then the Boy Next Door himself turns into the male equivalent of Alex Forrest in terms of attraction and obsession.
WTF is going on? Who wrote this? What kind of male chauvinist piece of trash wrote this woman hating tripe? Women are weak, useless, screaming, and over powered mentally and physically. Who wrote this?
Enter Barbara Curry, former Assistant U.S. Attorney turned screenwriter…
A woman wrote this screenplay…
Now after much weeping and gnashing of teeth, and praying to my altar of bell hooks and Alison Bechdel I got up off the floorand searched for SOME explanation.
Ok Curry says her script didn’t make it to the screen- My Script Was Changed
Curry is quoted, “Much of my original script was rewritten by the producers and the director. I was not given the opportunity to participate in the production of this movie,”
Ok. So now this makes some sense. It’s still a hot ass mess, but at least I know she didn’t put women back 40 years on film. Hollywood execs did. My question though is what audience is the movie aimed at? From 50 Shades of Grey trailer they showed with it I have some idea. However I can’t see a woman enjoying this movie with its terrible portrayal of women and their decisions. It couldn’t be worth the 5 second sex scene (which is completely filmed from the male gaze). The target audience couldn’t be men could it? I’m at a loss for what person the movie execs tailored this movie for, and I guess it shows they weren’t sure either. What’s sad is that in this day and age a major studio like Universal would green light such misogynistic changes to a script, especially a script written by a woman. With Ava Duvernay just snubbed of an Oscar nom for Best Direction of Selma, this isn’t surprising from Hollywood, but it is still disappointing and tired all the same.
Do better Hollywood.
What a waste of talent and money.