Girl and boy, are in a relationship, one goes abroad for studies (mostly the boy), they plan to make long-distance work, only for one of them to get insecure (always the girl) when their partner becomes friends with a hot, sexy lass. Meanwhile, the girl finds a hottie for whom she develops conflicted feelings, things get complicated, only to be sorted in like a minute by the end arrives, with the girl and boy promising to love each other forever. Yeah, The Kissing Booth 2, as cliched as its prequel, doesn’t appeal to the brain cogs, but it does trigger a certain high school nostalgia and if it doesn’t for you then…Damn! You stonehearted!
When we last saw Joey King’s Elle in Netflix’s surprisingly hit teen romance film, The Kissing Booth, she was tearfully bidding farewell to her boyfriend, Noah (Jacob Elordi), off to Harvard, and then riding off into the sunset on her motorcycle.
With The Kissing Booth 2, there are multiple romances and too many subplots happening, and while Vince Marcella can’t help but make it as cliched (if not more) as its successor, this second chapter in Elle’s life (tons of other unnecessary characters’ life) is definitely better. Yeah, I know, it is too long and filtered with infinite subplots, but in the end, high-schooler Elle wondering if her first love will last forever does manage to invoke memories- a similar pining phase we went through, even though we are too “adult” to accept it now.
So, go all “pfft” you want, you’ll secretly, kinda, dig The Kissing Booth 2.
From the very beginning, The Kissing Booth 2 is pretty clear that it is aiming for a done-a-thousand-time-plot as it picks up 27 days after Noah left, a new man, completely dedicated to his girlfriend. Elle, in her senior year, is soldiering through days without him by sticking close to her bestie, Lee (Joel Courtney), to the annoyance of his girlfriend, Rachel (Meganne Young).
While initially, she is all for not being a “clingy girlfriend”, soon the presence of goddess-like model Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) as Noah’s college pal, triggers her insecurity, puts a dent in their relationship. Meanwhile, unknowingly, Noah too faces a potential rival in the form of new boy Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez), Elle’s classmate, who with his bedroom eyes, charming smiles, and magnetic aura may steal her away.
Nothing we haven’t seen in another, slightly more annoying, film series (To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You).
But while The Kissing Booth 2 is far better acted and hits the emotions buttons more correctly than its colleagues, it introduces tons of subplots- Lee’s girlfriend and her annoyance with Elle, the arc of the two male high schoolers falling for each other, a trip to Boston, a virtual dance competition- but pays zero attention to make them worthwhile to watch. Add to that the pointless presence of the “Mean Girls” trio. Yo! Get a sheet of cliches ‘cause Marcella ticked them all!
What truly works in The Kissing Booth 2’s favor is Joey King, who, finally gets room to put her charming acting chops and comedic timing to work. Thrown it in with its ability to work to emotional angle and you have enough drama for you to grab that bowl of popcorn and dip right into it, with occasional breaks to moan about “Oh, god, why on Earth is this 2 hours and 12 minutes long?” and “Darn it, why is so much happening at the same time in this movie?”
But as you will definitely reach for another popcorn and unpause The Kissing Booth to resume watching it, I guess that’s all the victory the makers of the movie are looking for because a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for the first film sure didn’t stop them from making a sequel, and given the open-end conclusion, plan another one after it. So, it’s a win-win, eh?