The good, the bad, and the ugly: “The Kissing Booth”

by Sama Karim | October 5, 2020

Art by Lily Baker (’21)

Before its long-awaited sequel was released this summer, this summer fling Netflix rom-com was a literal teenage sensation in 2018 because of the drama, the romantic relationships, and heartbreaks, the movie raked in millions of views across the country. If you guessed The Kissing Booth series, you are correct. This carbon copy of a fifteen-year-old Wattpad fan-fiction targets teens with its overused cliches, like falling for my best friend’s brother, and the stereotypical bad boy who swoops in to save the helpless damsel in distress. This Netflix Original stars Joey King, playing Elle Evans, a girl unlike other girls; Joel Courtney, as Lee Flynn, the toxic best friend; and their dysfunctional friendship. The love interests include Jacob Eldori who plays Noah Flynn, a misogynistic bad boy with anger issues, who raises major red flags throughout the series, and Taylor Perez as Marco Peña, the equally if not more attractive second lead who will never be chosen, so what’s the point of watching the second movie anyway?

Because of the recent release of the sequel from the problematic Kissing Booth, a mess which normalized harassment, controlling boyfriends, and manipulating toxic best friends, let’s dive into the critical review of The Kissing Booth 2. First, the unhealthy relationship between Elle and Lee continues to flourish during the sequel. To recap on the first movie, Elle and Lee are best friends who base their whole friendship on an unreasonable set of rules they made when they were kids. In the first movie, their relationship falls apart as Elle likes Noah, breaking rule #9, to never date relatives of best friends. In the second movie, Elle risks her friendship again by breaking the rule to “always attend the same college as the bestie” and is forced to choose between attending college with her best friend or with her boyfriend.

In addition, Vincent Marcello, the writer for The Kissing Booth, chooses not one, not two, but three intertwined plotlines— involving both of the leads having chemistry with other people, a dance competition, and once again, the choice between her boyfriend and best friend. Similar to the first movie where Elle faces a crisis between friendship and romantic relations, this iteration suffers from trying to be too many things at once— and miserably fails with the climax somehow being a Dance Dance Revolution competition.

Amidst all these problems, this is what made The Kissing Booth so successful. The series caters to a wide audience of teenagers who enjoy watching mindless movies that drag them from reality to escape into a world where people’s biggest problems are choosing between two attractive people. Although it contains a large amount of overused cliches, that is the secret to what makes The Kissing Booth so successful. Now that we have reviewed the good, the bad, and the ugly, ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to buckle up your seat belts as we get ready for another roller coaster of emotions: The Kissing Booth 3.

Categories: Entertainment

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