I think of movie trailers as quality markers, not previews. If a movie has a creative and well-edited trailer it makes me ten times more willing to see it. For instance, American Sniper’s trailer masterfully creates suspense and revealed very little of the plot. The heartbeat sound verges on trite, but in this instance I could feel my heart quickening along with it. It was so engrossing that it made me forget my aversion of war films and boosted it to the top of my must see list.
Another example would be A Most Violent Year, which I had no real interest in seeing until I viewed the trailer. Brief pulsating imagery, an intriguing song, stylish lettering it checks off all the boxes for a great TV spot. Neither trailer really explains the premise of the movie, but both leave the viewer guessing and American Sniper practically ends on a cliff hanger. These are both fantastic examples of how trailers can elevate a film.
But of course, there are the laughably terrible trailers. The subject of this post, The Boy Next Door, caught my attention not only because of JLo( who will never stop trying to be an actress), but because of how massively it missed the target. What was the aim of this trailer? Suspense, suspense, suspense! What did I get from this trailer? Hilarity certainly, but it is about as suspenseful as a Disney channel movie. Will the main character get the guy of their dreams and still win the baking competition? Yes. The answer is always yes.
So, where do we begin in this super suspenseful trailer? Heavy breathing and a shot of JLo running. I get it, I get it. Her husband’s a cheating loser, she teaches high school, and her best friend is Kristen Chenoweth. Life is really freaking hard for JLo. Her husband cheats with his secretary every time he goes to the office. I mean EVERY time. “Have you ever made a mistake?” he asks JLo. He’s surely not talking about himself. He must be foreshadowing the entire movie. God, these characters are prescient.
Luckily, JLO is saved by an extremely tanned and muscular Noah Sandborne. Will I remember his face in two minutes? Probably not. Will I remember his abs? Hell, yes. He’s just your average high school student who lives with his uncle and pops up very creepily to help sexy mammas open garage doors. And he looks like he’s 35. Seems like this movie will your typical rom-com.
But who is this mysterious 35-year-old? I guess you could say he’s like any old Joe. His parents died in a weird car crash( Did he have anything to do with it? Ooooohhh suspense!) and he’s “not from around here” (Can he be any more vague?). He also wears exclusively white undershirts and befriends boys who look half his age in order to seduce their mothers.
We haven’t seen too much of JLo running, so they sprinkle another shot in. It must a dramatic motif that symbolizes her endurance. Now she’s taking a breather, showing that she’s a regular human like the rest of us. Meanwhile, poor totally not creepy Noah is feeling like he doesn’t belong anywhere (except on top of his best friend’s mother I guess) and JLo is breathing really heavily and telling him to go. Noah thinks she doth protest too much. Wow, this picked up quickly.
Cut to sexy sex scene. There’s a lot of breathing (SUSPENSE!) and fade to black shots of naked bodies. You know, your typical Lifetime movie. JLo realizes that she’s made a mistake and tells Noah to go, causing him to make a very sad face. He’s wearing another white shirt in this scene which is most definitely an ironic purity motif.
So far, this trailer is only mildly terrible. And then Noah makes an inside joke. “It was pretty wet in here,” he says, and we all know what he’s talking about (Wink wink WINK).
I thought he was supposed to be a 35-year-old pretending to be an 18-year-old, but I guess he’s actually a 13-year-old playing a 35-year-old pretending to be an 18. The dad looks at Noah like “of course it was wet there was a thunderstorm” and JLo is like ” did someone actually think this was funny?”
It can’t possibly become more awkward than this, but the next day Noah joins JLo’s class. Of course everyone immediately accepts this hulking new addition without comment, except for JLo, whose lip gloss quivers a little bit. It even seems like JLo requested the schedule change herself, but SURPRISE it was Noah. He’s very coy with his little “I guess you’ve been hacked.” He’s a whole ‘nother person with that swanky blue shirt.
Now things are getting intense. The generic suspenseful/romantic/sexy sex music is picking up and Noah is teaching JLo’s son how to shoot and making cryptic comments about his dad. Wait a second! Was this all a ruse to make JLo’s husband jealous? Is Noah actually her husband’s gay lover? I sure hope that’s the big (inevitably lame) twist. JLo is getting fierce herself and warning her son not to see Noah anymore, but she’s not having any effect. He’s already in the car. She’s lost him forever.
Noah continues to get creepier by posting pictures of their sexy time all over her classroom and her bedroom. Not a practical idea. He does realize that he’s in those pictures too, right? He punches some walls while the word OBSESSION flashes in and out. Yeah, we get it, and we’ve seen this thousands of times before. He’s gonna dominate his woman and make her his! Yeah! There will be explosions, and pushing, and her son driving a really expensive car down a really narrow sea-side road while crying. But eventually, JLo will win. Noah will have to leave her alone.
But he can’t do that. He lives next door. He’s the Boy Next Door, in fact. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see the movie to find out how this enthralling story ends. JLo was briefly shown holding a kitchen knife so that could either mean murder or a very dramatic turkey carving scene.
– Stomach kissing. Why is there always stomach kissing?
-“Do you want a cookie for the road?” “I love your mother’s cookies”. How many middle school innuendos can you have in one movie?
-JLo’s confused face. She makes it every time Noah talks.
– Can Noah apparate or something? He shows up in very random class rooms, random houses, random alleys. (He’s a vampire!)
-Heavy breathing. It should have a spot in the credits.
“No judgement. No rules. Just us.” There’s only rule in teacher sex club and that’s don’t talk about teacher sex club.
Needless to say, this trailer does nothing for the movie. It gives up the entire plot, reuses the same few scenes, and leaves nothing to entice the viewer. If anything, it highlights the cheesy writing when it could have spent more time on the sexy sex and properly hypnotized its target audience of 40 something housewives. Judging by the trailer, I predict this shall flop.
Diagnosis: Pretty wet.