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The Boy Next Door *

Is it worth $10? No

Jennifer Lopez is having a tough time. Her latest album didn’t sell, and now she’s in the midst of another “American Idol” judging gig in which she’s window dressing to the main attraction. But “The Boy Next Door” is her redemption. Her step back to stardom, to the A-list. To mattering again rather than being an afterthought. All she needs is one box office hit, because when you’re a movie star you can do anything, right?

Wrong. Oh my goodness is this movie terrible. Atrocious. It’s the kind of bad that’ll make her go home to her peeps from “the block” to ponder what went wrong, only to receive blank stares and shoulder shrugs.

How did she think “The Boy Next Door” was a good idea? It’s “Fatal Attraction” for today’s youth-driven, zero-attention-span generation. It’s a movie that lacks so much logic and reason and sense that one could indeed check one’s phone/tablet every five minutes, update Twitter and check e-mail, and not miss much of anything.

“Fatal Attraction” was a biting look at affluence and infidelity, and the dangers of a one-night stand with the wrong woman. It featured consenting adults who made an impassioned decision that turned out horrible for the male participant (Michael Douglas). In contrast, “The Boy Next Door” stars J-Lo as a schoolteacher and mom who has a one night stand with someone (Ryan Guzman) slightly older than her son (Ian Nelson). Whereas in “Fatal Attraction” we may relate to an impulsive decision with a co-worker your own age, it’s notably harder for a viewer to relate to schtooping the sexy hot teenager next door who’s half your age. The message the movie seems to be sending is “don’t sleep with the teenager who lives next door.” Hey thanks for that J-Lo – I’m sure I wouldn’t have figured it out on my own.

Worse, though, is how preposterous director Rob Cohen’s (“The Fast and the Furious”) film gets. In short order hottie teen Noah goes from perfect to pugnacious as he tries to force J-Lo’s Claire to live happily ever after with him. Given that she’s a teacher at his school, and he’s clearly a total psychopath, Claire relents. He then goes about inserting himself into her life in absurd ways, including threatening her son and estranged husband (John Corbett), spray painting the walls of the school bathroom, hacking into her e-mail, etc. He even threatens her friend and school vice principal Vicki (Kristen Chenoweth, mercifully providing comic relief). You would think someone would see Noah doing these awful things, and/or video cameras would capture his malfeasance in action, but that would’ve detracted from the climactic showdown in the barn, and we can’t have that.

It is painful and sad to watch Jennifer Lopez slink her way through another role. Her once promising acting career (“Selena,” “Out of Sight”) has been fizzling for years, and now this clunker will continue to drown her future. Put this one right next to “Gigli” among her worst.

Did you know?

Reportedly, Lopez did her own sex scene (body doubles are often used when the face is not visible).

Find tickets and showtimes on Fandango.

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