Hustlers has set Jennifer Lopez back on her feet as a movie star in 2019; back in 2015, her career took something of a down-turn with this strangely undernourished domestic horror film from the Blumhouse label. The Boy Next Door took a fair chunk out of the box-office, but it’s a strange Fatal Attraction rehash that probably soured Lopez’s audience on her for a while.
She plays Clare Peterson, a classics teacher who is in an unsatisfying relationship with her husband (John Corbett) and dreams of meeting a man who can not only share her love of Homer’s The Illiad, but fix her garage door. Step forward Ryan Guzman as Noah, quite literally the boy next door, who takes an understandable shine to Clare and gifts her a ‘first edition’ of The Illiad, presumably signed by the author himself. Disappointingly, that’s about as far as Rob Cohen goes with the literature theme as Clare unwisely goes to bed with Noah, only to find herself blackmailed and then subjected to various indignities as Noah takes over her life.
This is an absurdly melodramatic film that has very little going for it but Lopez, who manages to make it watchable as a happy centre to a miserable story. Golden Raspberry nominations aside, Lopez is an iconic figure whose talents are misapplied here, but as a real movie star can, she just about papers over the gaping cracks in this risible, yet amusing pot-boiler.