After the backlash that the first film received for its misogynistic plotline, it came as a surprise to find that Netflix had decided to make a sequel to The Kissing Booth. Even though like many, watching Netflix original rom coms is a guilty pleasure of mine, I was apprehensive about it.
The film takes place during best friends Lee (Joel Courtney) and Elle’s (Joey King) senior year and follows Elle’s journey to raise enough funds for college by competing in a dance competition with the help of new student Marco (Taylor Perez). Marco and Elle’s flourishing chemistry is set against the backdrop of her long-distance relationship with Noah (Jacob Elordi), and Lee’s struggle to balance his time between his girlfriend, Rachel (Meganne Young), and his best friend.
Noah and Elle’s relationship is far from healthy: Elle is endlessly jealous, insecure, and completely lacks trust in their relationship and Noah chooses to lie to her about who he spends time with rather than to confront her feelings and reassure her. But, uncharacteristically for the genre, the film shows one of the most realistic representations of what a teenage long-distance relationship is really like whilst still having them run into each other’s arms at the end. We also see Noah head off to a world-renowned college and struggle at first: he finds his classes difficult and doesn’t make friends at first. Although the film is quite slow and dry overall, it is important not to underestimate how effective these honest representations of life after school could be on the audience considering that it is primarily aimed at teenage girls. This is especially notable if you take into account the criticism that the first film received for its misogynistic premise where both Lee and Noah dictate who Elle is entitled to have a romantic relationship with, as well as consistently manipulating her. Netflix has made a noticeable effort to respond to this criticism in the sequel.
Only two days after the film’s release Netflix announced that a third instalment of the saga has already been filmed and will be released in 2021. Although this came as a welcome surprise to many fans, the film’s cliff-hanger ending made it obvious that this was the intention. The filming of ‘The Kissing Booth 3’ before the second film was even released is testament to how reliably successful this genre of film is for Netflix even in spite of disparaging critics’ reviews.
There is nothing particularly spectacular about ‘The Kissing Booth 2’. It’s your run of the mill Netflix original teenage Romantic Comedy, so if that’s not your cup of tea then this film will not change your mind; but, if that’s your idea of a good night in, or you’re looking for something to put on in the background then it gets the job done.
Image Credit: IMDb