Parents' Guide to

The Good Neighbor

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Cookie-cutter "psychopath" thriller has violence, language.

Movie R 2022 105 minutes
The Good Neighbor Movie: Poster

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This cookie-cutter thriller takes the old "psycho neighbor" genre popular in the 1990s and, rather than riffing on it, slavishly copies it in a way that's devoid of suspense or energy. The Good Neighbor follows the lead of films like Fatal Attraction and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle -- two of the most successful movies in this thriller subgenre -- but with a male psychopath, rather than a female one. (Though Meyers is no match for Robert De Niro in Cape Fear.) The men's friendship is just the beginning of this movie's trouble. It doesn't flow, and it never feels organic. It feels like the two men are reading dialogue at each other. Plus David never seems to be working and somehow has plenty of time for drinks and fishing.

Robert's sudden switch from buddy to stalker also makes little emotional sense. It's too abrupt. The same goes for David's connection with Janine in the bar. Their supposedly flirty conversation ("I like your bracelet") is so dull that it's head-scratching how he manages to come away with her number. And so it goes with nearly every interaction in the movie. The main problem with The Good Neighbor is that the characters and their emotional interactions don't drive the plot. Rather, everything happens in service of the plot; the characters are enslaved by it. They can't move. Even the beautiful Latvian locations aren't used for much more than window dressing. In the end, there's little "good" about this one.

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