'The Kissing Booth 2' Review: Alright, Let's Do This Thing Again!

'The Kissing Booth 2' Review: Alright, Let's Do This Thing Again!

On the heels of Elle's last rollercoaster year, she now has to deal with a long-distance relationship, and other teen drama problems bringing her down.

The Kissing Booth originally started as a Wattpad novel written by then-15-year-old author Beth Reekles. The original film was saccharine in the extreme, with predictable beats. Surprising to say, the sequel had more intrigue in it. If you enjoyed the first one, you'd probably love the second one. If you haven't seen this series of films yet and you're a fan of high-school drama and romantic comedies, you could spend a pleasant afternoon watching this one. The sequel keeps the same characters as the original but does an excellent job of switching things up a bit to make it seem more mature. However, when it comes to high-school drama, "a little more mature" isn't that much. The film suffers from many things that could have been improved. This film is a missed opportunity to reconcile older romcoms with more modern fare, reaching out to older and younger audiences. Sadly, it misses the mark by a mile.

Long Distance Woes

The last film closed on our protagonist Elle watching the love of her life Noah board an airplane to Boston, with tears in her eyes as she bid him farewell. The sequel picks up with Elle considering her position and wondering if the long-distance thing will work. On visiting Noah, she suspects that he may be cheating on her with another woman, and the discovery of a crystal earring gives her all the evidence she needs. Back at home, she decides to take part in a Dance Dance Revolution competition with her best friend, and Noah's brother, Lee. Unfortunately, Lee breaks his leg in training, and she's stuck with a new partner, a pro dancer who's arguably the best-looking guy at school. Their closeness triggers feelings in Elle, and the fact that she thinks Noah's cheating forces her to take stock of her situation and make hard decisions that could affect everyone's lives.

Script: 3/10


The Kissing Booth is a teen rom-com, and with other films of the genre, it rehashes the same ground. There are genuinely interesting points in the narrative, and Elle's character development is in-depth and engaging, as is Lee's. However, the rest of the characters and their stories fall short. The movie's tropes are overdone, and it's unlikely that you'd see any saving grace in them. The script has some genuinely sweet moments, with the appropriate feels, but it'd only appeal to fans. If you're picking this up as a new watcher, you'll be left mostly in the dark.

Cast: 4/10

The casting here is just as miserable as the original since there are not many new names added to the roster. Joey King slays it as Elle, but she was brilliant in the first film, and she's just as fabulous here. Noah (Jacob Elordi) and Lee (Joel Courtney) have some fine lines, but the delivery of these actors leaves you wanting more. Taylor Zakhar Perez, as Marco, is passable, but not incredible. The rest of the supporting characters all fall into the same mold - as if they think this isn't a serious part to get excited about. The lack of enthusiasm pervades the entire narrative and makes it harder to watch and appreciate than its predecessor.

Pacing: 3/10

Romcoms have specific beats that they follow throughout their narrative. The pacing for this movie introduces a lot of excessive conflicts that could be resolved simply. While the argument that it IS a high-school drama can help those conflict points fly, it's generally a lazy way to approach the situation, especially since the original film sets up Lee as a more mature individual than he appears to be in the sequel. The pacing is more of an issue when we have scene-switches between Boston and California. There are times when it feels like Noah and Elle aren't on a one-to-two-hour time difference, but like they're on opposite sides of the planet.

Composition: 5/10

A Love Triangle Has Three Points

The movie's composition is one of its better characteristics. The dynamics between characters are well done, even though they break your suspension of disbelief quite often. The introduction of elements meant to muddle the formula comes off as innovative rather than trite. One of the things you'll realize early on is that there are subtle elements in the film you'll spot if you're a regular rom-com watcher that helps signpost you to the conclusion. Even so, you might still be surprised at the direction the ending takes. All in all, the composition was possibly the best part of this film.

Overall: 4/10


While this movie won't break any barriers or do something that you haven't seen before, it's not terrible. It plays to a particular audience, but if you're not one of them, you'd be disappointed. The film does reference elements of 80s romcoms that might give some of you pause. I felt it was a nice touch to add these elements, but they are likely to be lost on the film's target demographic. It could have been more in-depth as a romcom, and there was a lot of potential to explore other issues. Instead, we got a film that doesn't even have a proper Kissing Booth scene, as a sequel to a movie based around a Kissing Booth. I think Netflix could have done better here.

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