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‘The Kissing Booth 2’ Movie Review

★½

Even with a committed performance by Joey King, ‘The Kissing Booth 2’ can’t overcome its lazy, messy script and overall pointlessness.

With boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi) off to Harvard, Elle must venture back to high school for her senior year with a long-distance relationship.

It’s almost hilarious to see how fast Netflix churns out these lazy attempts to get teenage girls excited with their platform (which works, to their credit). This latest one is even an attempt to kickstart a franchise, and going by their track record, we can expect the third one as soon as production is capable of going back to work. Is there anything that is even slightly unpredictable or surprising about this entry? Well, no. That’s why it’s a formula, and it works. However, there was a slight naivety on my part, expecting this to turn out different only to be disillusioned as soon as it started.
Having said all of this, even knowing what a pile of dump the first one had been, the sequel turns out to be even worse. From an extraordinarily unbelievable and dull central conflict that I’d be surprised a 13-year old would fall for, to a generic script that features dialogues that feel taken word-for-word out of a CW show, I couldn’t help but wonder if Netflix is perhaps losing their touch with this type of movie. If it had at least been under two hours, I guess there would be an argument to be made about minimal time investment, but ‘The Kissing Booth 2’ inexplicably runs for over 2 hours and 10 minutes (!) and never manages to justify it. What a mess.

As for good things, I am happy to say that Joey King remains as talented as she was when she first came into the scene. Even with a terrible script, she’s able to at least add some flourish to her character and becomes by far the only thing redeemable from the whole thing. As for the rest of the cast, no one seems to be doing more than a mediocre job, a notable example being Elordi who just a year ago had pleasantly surprised me in Euphoria but goes back to being bland as ever portraying Noah.

There’s not much to say except, don’t watch it. There are thousands of films, literally, that are under two hours and are worth at least a hundred times your time more. As for ‘Kissing Booth 3’? Netflix definitely wants me to care, but if this sequel is any indication, let’s just say there isn’t even an ounce of anticipation from my part.

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