Boys Next Door, The
Reviewed by Joel Mathis
Rating: 3.5 Beans
he Boys Next Door is a film that falls just short of greatness. Cleaning up any number of factors could have made this film at least watchable.
The script for The Boys Next Door, for example, has several fine points while being incompetant in others. The film revolves around a trip to LA by two just graduated high school students Bo (Charlie Sheen) and Roy (Maxwell Caulfield). In a real stretch for Sheen, the two boys go more and more out of control while the film documents this. The story of their slide in chaos would be more interesting, though, if we could believe the characters. The script has them often come across as Beavis and Butthead instead of two real teenagers loosing control. The script also demonstrates an extreme niavity when Roy nearly beats a gas attendant to death and it is a major crime. Somehow I think that in 1986 LA there were plenty of brutal armed robberies. It adds insult to injury to discover that the two screenwriters where none other than Glen Morgan and James Wong who are considdered by many to be the best writers that The X-Files had.
The acting doesn't help the script over the weak parts and brings down some parts that could have been better. When we were supposed to be getting a view of Roy's supressed sexual desires, it came across more like he was bored. Sheen's delivery of lines has two ranges, monotone and screaming. Making it worse, Sheen and Caulfield were the strongest actors in the film.
Finally, the direction of Penelope Spheeris (who later went on to direct such "fine" movies as The Beverly Hillbillies and Black Sheep) destroys any sense of mood. In the most brutal portion of the film, the camera avoids the action needed to convey how horrible the teenagers had become.
All in all, The Boys Next Door is not nearly as bad as it could have been. If you could clean up the script, get better actors, or a director who handles violence better, it could have been a good movie. Unfortunently it stands as a near miss.
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