Jennifer Lopez plays high-school English teacher Claire Peterson, who, on the back of her separation with her cheating husband, becomes beguiled by her new neighbour – the handsome and charismatic teenager Noah (Ryan Guzman). Enjoying the seemingly innocuous flirtation, he seems to be more invested in their relationship than she is, so when Claire hopes to cut him loose – she realises that may just be harder than initially envisaged.
Cohen revels in the frivolity of this title, so much so that picking out the flaws almost seems pedantic. But let’s start with this one – Guzman is not 19. He doesn’t look 19. He looks 27, because he is 27. It’s an entertaining performance from the actor though, who takes on the form of a pantomime villain, as you almost want to scream “he’s behind you!” when Lopez is completely unaware. To try and figure out how much of this picture is stony-faced and what’s tongue-in-cheek, thankfully we have Kristin Chenoweth playing Claire’s best friend Vicky, and the actress responds predominantly to the latter. She reciprocates mawkish one-liners, poking fun at them as though representing the viewer – which is essential, as we need that barbed perspective to get on board with this production.
On the scale of quite how bad this screenplay is, and the acting to match – we’re lingering towards the Nicholas Sparks end of the spectrum, except Cohen is having more fun with this production. He abides affectionately in the traditionalism, and faithfully to the tropes of the genre, and every so often, a film of this ilk is exactly what the doctor ordered. However, like with any prescription, it wears off after a while, and towards the closing stages it’s fair to say the tedium kicks in, as you anticipate the closing credits.
But look, cinema, at its core, is entertainment, and in spite of the numerous flaws that exists, you ask the hundreds of people in the cinema if they enjoyed themselves when watching this feature, and you’d likely hear a resounding yes. It’s great value for money, it’s irreverent and completely hilarious, whether they mean for it to be, or not.