So I usually only write movie reviews on either the year they come out or a month or two after the new year has started. The latter reason is because they either weren’t available because of how limited they were released in the first place or that and they were also Oscar bait films (these movies probably only released last minute December in only New York and LA). Because of COVID-19 in 2020, new content hasn’t been released in theaters for months and I’ve been writing these reviews long after Jan or Feb because I need stuff to review because it’s all I have left to save my sanity and my blog. Now with my television reviews, which I started doing more of this year, I will only review that season that ended this year, but I’ll also combine it saying a little somethin’ somethin’ about the series as a whole. I have to do this in order to be able to explain my feelings about the current season well. This is my first movie review, where I’m needing to briefly talk about a Netflix film that released in 2018 so I can accurately review its sequel, which just came out this weekend. I never watched THE KISSING BOOTH back in 2018 because at that point in time I was relying mostly on theatrical reviews and didn’t have time to watch all this dumb yet harmless teen rom-com crap. Needless to say in years prior, I skipped a shit ton Netflix original films. But when I heard THE KISSING BOOTH 2 was releasing this weekend, and knew if I just watched the original real quick, I could watch and review the sequel, just to have new contend on my blog. How were they? Well, I already gave you a hint of what I thought when I used the words “dumb yet harmless” two sentences ago, but let me be a bit more clear: Just like To All The Boys I’ve Love Before and it’s sequel, both Booth movies are almost exactly carbon copies of each other, both sequels are unnecessary because the characters end up in the exact same place they were at at the end of the first movie, but both make up a lack for the dumbness by having everyone in its cast have great chemistry with each other. They also look like they are having a ton of fun making it, and the movie doesn’t treat its target audience as if they were idiots for liking the movie either.
Noticed I said ‘target audience’ just there. I AM NOT THESE MOVIES TARGET AUDIENCE! To me, they were harmless one time watches, maybe only watching the first one again sometime with my wife because its much shorter and a little more fun than its sequel. Any other guy watching this, especially single, would probably want to gouge their eyes out during either film and would be bored to tears. Per IMDB it describes the first Kissing Booth movie as: “A high school student is forced to confront her secret crush at a kissing booth.” IMDB describes the second Kissing Booth movie as: “High school senior Elle juggles a long-distance relationship with her dreamy boyfriend Noah, college applications, and a new friendship with a handsome classmate that could change everything.” Sound familiar? That’s because both Booth movies are basically both To All The Boys I Loved Before Movies, all four almost have the exact same plot and narrative structures. It is very, very bizarre. The real difference is that the To All The Boys movies take itself a bit more seriously than the Booth movies, where its just goofy fun teen angst stuff with just a little pinch of drama here and there. To get a little more into the Booth movies, Elle secret crush in the first oned is her boyfriend in the second movie, Noah, and Noah is the older brother of her best-est best friend in the world, Lee, who just happened to have been born the exact same day and time as Elle and they’ve been inseparable ever since, because their mothers were inseparable in high school. They have these list of rules of how best-est best friends should behave and act around each other and rule number #9 or something is you can’t date the spouses of your best friend. Needless to say it all gets complicated in the first film and everything happens and ends up exactly the way you could easily predict it would.
I’m just glad that the first movie didn’t end with Elle and Lee realizing they should now be more than friends with sexual feelings for each other…an ending plot point that has been done in too many rom-com’s we’ve already seen before. No, I can happily say that they don’t become more in either film, and they just remain truly best-est best friends, with no feelings of sexual love at any point whatsoever. He just doesn’t want her dating his older brother. Now the sequel, since Noah and her are together, you can guess how the first movie ends. So to stir up the pot this time and go somewhere different, albeit eerily very familiar when you think about the To All The Boys movies, it has Noah go off to college, and a new handsome boy comes to their school for senior year named Marco. Elle tries to get this Marco to do not only do their school kissing booth fundraiser that year, because he’s so hot and he could make them a ton of money, but also partners up with him in this Dance Dance Revolution competition for money so that she could possibly have enough money to pay for Harvard if she applies. IF she gets accepted, she could end up going to the same college as Noah next year after she graduates. You can basically see how all that predictably plays out can’t you? It’s all very, very predictable and ultimately very, very unnecessary. So now you might be asking me: “Zach, if you are saying all these negative things about it, why are you ultimately giving this film a pass for its target audience instead ripping it a new asshole?” The answer to your question is simple: the chemistry of all the actors together is fun and refreshing, and unlike other rom-coms, where it looks like people are suffering throughout filming just to get it done, everyone here looks like they are having fun and seem as though they want to be there.
And when the cast and crew look to be having fun, that fun was a tiny bit contagious for me. Joey King is just fun, innocent, and so damn delightful in these movies (her real life sister, Hunter King, who is not in this, is an absolute babe, my perverted self just had to mention that). Her chemistry with Joel Courtney, who plays her platonic best-est best friend, is refreshing to watch, knowing that it doesn’t become more than that. In the first movie at least, her chemistry with Noah, played by Jacob Elordi, is fantastic and felt real, and even though in the sequel he isn’t in it as much because he is off to college, when they do end up sharing the screen in scenes that are few and far between, their chemistry at least hasn’t missed a beat. And even though the kissing booth is questionable, ethics wise, in the first movie (it doesn’t really address homosexual people being left out), it at least made up for it in the sequel. In the end, I do end up preferring the first film, mainly because it is only an hour and 45 minutes long, where as the sequel tries to be this epic rom-com we didn’t need at 2 hrs and 12 minutes long. TOO. LONG. FOR. A. MOVIE. LIKE. THIS. This isn’t fucking Shakespeare In Love. Things that were supposed to happen in the third act happened in the second with still an hour left in the movie. Thankfully the films are frantically fast paced enough and not too complicated camera work or dialogue wise to get through it. Look, it’s this simple, you know who this movie is for. If it’s for you, it’s for you, don’t be ashamed about being interested in it, and don’t let my sometimes harsh critique get in the way of your enjoyment of it. I am ultimately recommending it to you, if you are its target audience. It’s harmless, teen angst fun. If it were teen angst for the sake of being teen angst added with too much bullshit drama, then that’s another story. Let’s just say, that if this movie itself were a real kissing booth, I’d buy YOU a ticket to go and kiss the man/girl of your dreams, and I would happily support you at a distance.