The highly anticipated “The Kissing Booth 2” was released on Netflix on July 23, but after the trainwreck that was “The Kissing Booth” the only thing I was looking forward to for the sequel was making fun of it. Don’t get me wrong, I was entertained, watched the whole thing and it was definitely better than the first one, but it’s still a disaster in the world of young adult novel adaptations.
“The Kissing Booth” ended with a cliche. The protagonist, Elle, got the guy, saved her relationship with her best friend, Noah’s brother Lee, and told her boyfriend she loved him before he left for Harvard, and how that idiot got in, I do not know. “The Kissing Booth 2” picks up right where the first one left off. Elle is trying to navigate her senior year while keeping up a long distance relationship with Noah, third wheeling with Lee and his girlfriend and practicing for a Dance Dance Revolution competition that will help her pay for college. That sentence alone makes me want to pretend I never spent the time watching this movie.
I have no problems with any of the talented actors that are a part of it, except for Jacob Elordi, but that’s not important. Most of them did a decent job with what they were given, and I applaud them for that. But the characters, except for Lee, he’s great, are extremely unlikeable. Elle is a girl who can’t seem to take anything seriously and spends all of her time and energy stressing herself out about her relationship. She was really close to changing all of her life plans so she could move to Boston and be with her boyfriend. What kind of female protagonist is that? I understand that the movie is a romantic comedy and the focus is on her relationship, but why would anyone want to give up on their dreams for some guy that doesn’t even treat them right?
Elle and Noah’s relationship isn’t exactly what I would call healthy. They got together through sketchy circumstances, and even though most of the time they seem happy together, Elle is often worried about him cheating on her, and for good reasons. Noah is friends with a really pretty girl named Chloe, and Elle is, naturally, jealous of her and paranoid that something is going on between them. Because of this, Noah lies about who he’s hanging out with and denies Elle’s accusations, making her feel crazy and guilty for “not trusting” Noah. Noah wasn’t cheating on Elle, but it sure seemed like it. But instead of being understanding and talking to her about it, Noah guilt trips Elle into believing him. Netflix had the perfect opportunity to go against the jealous, crazy girlfriend stereotype in this movie but they played right into it.
One of the main conflicts in “The Kissing Booth” is Elle keeping her relationship with Noah a secret because of how it would hurt her best friend. The sequel reveals that Elle and Lee had always planned to go to the same college, UC Berkeley. But Noah convinces Elle to also apply for Harvard and some surrounding schools in Boston, something that really hurts Lee when he eventually finds out about it. In my opinion, friends should almost always come before boyfriends or girlfriends, because romantic relationships don’t always last, but good friendships will. Why does Elle constantly betray her childhood best friend for a relationship that Elle herself isn’t totally sure will last through the school year?
“The Kissing Booth 2” introduces a new love interest for Elle named Marco. He is new at the school and partners up with Elle to help her win the Dance Dance Revolution competition. While training for the competition, the two develop feelings for one another and kiss while performing, with Noah watching. This forces Elle to make a choice between her jerk of a boyfriend that hasn’t been honest with her, or the jerk but also sort of sweet guy she seems to really enjoy hanging out with. It’s kind of like the upcoming 2020 election: neither are great choices but we’re gonna have to suck it up and go with one. When Marco asks her if she has feelings for him, she says she does, but that he’s not the one and that she needs to go talk to Noah, who had stormed off after the performance and had fought with Elle at Thanksgiving dinner over cheating accusations from both parties. Elle, in a decision that I find idiotic, gets back together with Noah and stops talking to Marco like he never existed. Yet another “P.S., I Still Love You” disappointment where the new love interest is obviously the better choice, but the protagonist gets back together with their undeserving boyfriends.
The worst part of the entire catastrophe of a movie is the cliffhanger ending, which reveals the unfortunate possibility of a sequel. Elle gets into both UC Berkeley and Harvard, and Marco makes it known that he’s not giving up on Elle. So Elle is going to be caught up in yet another love triangle and is going to have to make a decision between going to UC Berkeley with her best friend, or Harvard with her boyfriend. Even though I don’t want another movie, if they do end up making one, I’m hoping that Elle goes to college with her best friend, and maybe, if we’re lucky, realizes her worth and breaks up with Noah, hopefully either staying single or getting with Marco, because he is ten times better than Noah could ever dream of being.
To wrap this up, “The Kissing Booth 2” is funny and entertaining, but its flaws outweigh the good things about it. I didn’t hate it and don’t regret watching it, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless they want to get a good laugh out of the total garbage that is this movie.
By: Emily Chambliss, Editor-in-Chief