Monday, July 27, 2020

The Kissing Booth 2 (2020)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Kissing Booth 2 (2020)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Length: 134 minutes
Rating: TV-14
Production/Distribution: Komixx Entertainment, Netflix
Director: Vince Marcello
Writer: Vince Marcello, Jay S. Arnold, Beth Reekles
Actors: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi, Molly Ringwald, Taylor Zakhar Perez, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Meganne Young, Stephen Jennings, Carson White, Bianca Bosch, Camilla Wolfson, Zandile-Izandi Madliwa, Judd Krok, Sanda Shandu, Hilton Pelser, Frances Sholto-Douglas, Evan Hengst, Joshua Daniel Eady, Trent Rowe, Michelle Allen, Nathan Lynn, Byron Langley, Morné Visser, Chloe Williams, D. David Morin

Blurb from IMDb: In the sequel to 2018's THE KISSING BOOTH, high school senior Elle juggles a long-distance relationship with her dreamy boyfriend Noah, college applications, and a new friendship with a handsome classmate that could change everything.

Selina’s Point of View:
I enjoyed The Kissing Booth when I saw it. I noted there were some problematic areas, but I have to admit that it stuck with me a lot more than I thought it would. The characters made more sense to me than they usually do in these kinds of films and, looking back, I think that’s why they stuck with me.

The Kissing Booth is one of those movies that I would rate higher now that I’ve had time to sit with it. That happens sometimes. A film will seem one way, but change as I have time to ruminate on it. Unfortunately, everything I loved about the first film went sour in the second.

First thing I have to note is that The Kissing Booth 2 is a little long for a movie of this genre. Most teen rom-coms come in at around 90 minutes. The longer ones hit about 2 hours. This is even longer than that. If you didn’t feel the time, that’d be fine – but I absolutely believe that it would have benefited from a bit more editing. A few scenes could have been cut and the flick would have been better for it. It’d have also been shorter and easier to sit through.

Even if the timing issues weren’t a big deal, this sequel relied much heavier on tropes. Some of which were super outdated, even when I was a kid. I mean, the quickest way to make sure I stop being interested in a film is to have someone lean on a broadcast button and accidentally say something embarrassing to the whole building. I think that’s my least favorite trope ever.

There was also a tone issue. The beginning of the film felt like a Disney Channel film. It was overly peppy. It felt like a movie for young teens. However, somewhere near the middle it changed. It became darker. It had more PG-13 content. It was obviously meant more for older teens at that point. I believe that when I think back to this film in the future, I’m going to have trouble remembering it as one cohesive project.

The ending was still alright. I wished it had taken a different path, but I didn’t despise it. I can’t say I loved it, but it didn’t make me yell at the screen. It was basic – much like the rest of it.

The Kissing Booth 2 had potential that it just didn’t live up to. I still want to read the books, though. Maybe it’s just a bad adaptation.

Cat’s Point of View:
I knew right away that I’d be down to watch a sequel to The Kissing Booth (2018), so you can imagine I was jazzed to find out that #2 would be released this month. Oddly, I don’t believe I even considered my expectations for this movie. There’s always that lurking question in the background asking whether or not the follow-up could be as good as the original. Sequelitis is a virus that plagues Hollywood, after all.

My faith was not misplaced. I think this is my favorite sort of sequel – the sort that picks right up where the first film left off. That way it’s like reading the next chapter of a good book but watching it unfold before your eyes rather than within your imagination. I’m actually a bit giddy that there’s going to be a Kissing Booth 3 in 2021, but I digress.

All of the staples from the first movie’s cast return for #2. The story just wouldn’t be as interesting without the main characters of Noah and Elle, played by Jacob Elordi (Swinging Safari, Euphoria, The Mortuary Collection) and Joey King (Wish Upon, Radium Girls, Slender Man), respectively. I, like most fans of the first movie, wanted to find out how things worked out for Joel Courtney (Mercy, The River Thief, Assimilate) and Meganne Young's (The Giver, Eye in the Sky, Supernatural) characters as well.

Not only do we get that answer in a realistic manner, but we are also introduced to 2 new show-stealers, as well. The characters played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, The Originals, DC's Legends of Tomorrow) and Taylor Zakhar Perez (Alpha House, Cruel Intentions, Embeds) were absolutely perfect to push our main characters in ways that tested them and pushed the plot of the sequel forward. I’m curious how their roles will evolve into the 3rd movie, though we’ll have to wait until 2021 to find out.

The world these films takes place in feels real and full of relatable situations – yet, at the same time, there is a slight disconnect because it feels a little too good to be true. These teens come from well-to-do families living in Los Angeles. The high school seems to be full of your average mix of students ranging through the spectrum of social cliques, and yet everyone is generally so supportive of one another and the ‘mean girls’ are more like gossipers without real malice. If only life were that simple. Perhaps these choices were made to help keep the story streamlined. Regardless, it’s something I am more than willing to look past, considering the quality of the rest of the tale.

I really enjoyed The Kissing Booth 2 and would recommend it in a heartbeat for anyone that’s a fan of the first movie. Can we fast-forward through the rest of 2020 so we can watch the next one?

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 27%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 44%
Metascore – 39/100
Metacritic User Score – 3.8/10
IMDB Score – 6.1/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

P.S.: Some outtakes and deleted scenes show during the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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