Movie Review: The Kissing Booth 2 is better than the first but still has a long way to go

kissing booth 2

The Kissing Booth 2

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Vince Marcello
Cast: Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Joel Courtney, Taylor Zakhar Perez, Maisie Richardson
Synopsis: After a romantic summer together, Noah is off to Harvard, and Elle heads back to high school for her senior year.

If you know anything about me, you’d know I stan hard for To All The Boys I’ve Loved Beforeand The Kissing Booth 2 follows similar beats to that sequel, but not as well.

Perhaps it is because I read the TATBILB books but the storyline of: the couple are together, the couple goes through miscommunication, the couple gets two other ‘love’ interests, and then the couple gets back together, is not as convincing in this case.

I will keep my anti-Elle/Noah rant for later but let me first discuss what I did enjoy about this movie:

  • I definitely think that the writing, acting, direction improved between the two films.
  • It doesn’t have that awkwardness to that the first one did.
  • It had less of Noah being aggressive and unnecessary.
  • The new love interest, Marco is charming and lovely. 
  • Joey King seems to have become more comfortable in the role, and the character of Elle is more convincing and has more agency in this version.

However, I do think that the film is too long and tries to do too much in one film. There are many conflicts – Elle and Noah trying to trust each other while they are long distance, Elle choosing to go to Harvard with Noah or Berkeley with Lee, Elle causing problems between Lee and Rachel, Elle needing to win a dance contest in order to get money for college, and then there is Elle’s growing attraction to Marco. It’s a lot. And with the film running longer than two hours, it does seem as though they just tried to do too much.

Elle and Noah also don’t seem to fit. When the first film was released Joey King and Jacob Elordi were dating, and that could have been what added to the character’s chemistry onscreen. This time around the real-life couple are no longer together (Elordi is now dating his Euphoria co-star Zendaya) and for the most part, Elordi seems kind of checked out. And now that they no longer have that sizzling chemistry, it really has you thinking about what makes them such an ‘epic’ couple.

They seem like the type of pairing that worked well when they were both still in high school, but who eventually grow apart. The return to each other at the end of the film felt both cliché and forced, like that high school couple in the adult television show that they keep telling us belong together (I’m looking at you Pretty Little Liars). Yes, Noah has changed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it means that he and Elle always need to be together. I like the character of Marco, I like that he signalled a change, he was refreshing and seemed right for who Elle was becoming.

The cliffhanger at the end of the second film seemed to signal that we can expect a third movie, but I don’t have hope for much changing with regards to the storyline. But hey, maybe Marco’s determination at the end means that there is a chance he will continue to shake things up in The Kissing Booth 3. 

(Also I love that they filmed in Cape Town, it was so much fun pointing out Cape Town landmarks.)

Rating: 2/5

Watch it on Netflix here




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