Ok, everyone! I try to pick the more popular films to review. And when I saw that The Kissing Booth 2 was trending, I knew my next target. However, I had never seen the first film. So I’ve decided to torture myself by watching and reviewing the first film this week and then watching and reviewing the sequel next week. Some may call me a hero. But really, I’m just an average movie critic.
But I must say what a masterpiece this is! Such quotable lines! Such hilarious scenes! And not for the right reasons.
That’s right, this movie is awful. In many aspects, it is so awful, it ends up being hilarious. It isn’t quite Tommy Wiseau or Neil Breen levels of “so bad, it’s good.” It’s more just hilarious and baffling at how horrible this film and its script is.
Now granted, I know I am not this film’s target audience. I usually don’t subject myself to teenage/high school/romantic/comedy flicks. I’m sure there are some 14-year old girls out there who may find this enjoyable. But even then, I find a lot of the content and ideas in this film to be very questionable. And I wonder, why on earth would you want to teach these things to kids?! (Do I sound like a concerned mother yet?)
Before I go into that, let me explain the whole plot to you. High school girl played by a college-age actor likes some jerk at her school. Other hot and misunderstood high school guy played by another college-age actor is brother to girl’s best friend, but girl hates guy and guy hates girl. But as the movie goes on, guy and girl start to like each other and then they kiss. But then something happens and they hate each other again. But then they start to like each other again and they kiss and then they kiss a lot and do a lot more than kissing. But then girl’s best friend/guy’s brother finds out and gets jealous? So then everyone gets angry and hate each other again. But then, SPOILER ALERT! They like each other again and do more of the kissing stuff. That’s it. That’s the whole movie. Oh, and there’s a kissing booth involved somehow.
While a simple and seemingly harmless plot, what is sprinkled throughout this flick is what makes it a frustrating experience. And that is its moral bankruptcy. These characters find themselves in situations and react in ways that really shouldn’t be encouraged but are instead brushed off as quirky or endearing. Let me give you some examples.
The main character, Elle Evans, gets her butt grabbed by a jerk in school. Does she accuse him of sexual assault? Nope. He gets sent to detention and she develops a crush on him and asks him out! Yeah, that’s cool, Movie. Just tell everyone that if you smack a girl on the butt, she’ll think it’s cute and wanna go out with you.
Also, in this same horrible crapshow, Elle’s best friend Lee happens to be the brother of her romantic interest, Noah. Lee has this weird list of rules that he has with Elle for being best friends and one of those rules is you can’t date a relative of the other best friend. Weird, right? So when he discovers the two of them together, he gets mad and obviously jealous, which is weird because he just started dating someone else at that point. He even says something along the lines of “Growing up, my brother always had everything. You were the only thing that I had that he didn’t.” So he even basically admits that he set up that rule to intentionally keep her from dating his brother to control her and have her for himself and he’s somehow not a little bit of a psychopath? What a horrible character!
And what’s even worse is that Elle acts like she actually did something wrong, and, even though she still chooses to date Noah, she tries to make amends with Lee like his whole attitude wasn’t messed-up in the first place.
There are many other examples of moral bankruptcy sprinkled throughout the story. But you can also find examples just in the making of this flick. More specifically, this movie likes to strip down its characters to pretty much just underwear. In fact, there are one or two scenes that really enjoy making a fun show out of the main actress stripping in front of groups of high school boys (granted, all these actors are played by college-age actors). I’m not trying to make this a PluggedIn review or anything. I normally don’t make a big issue out of films that may have some form of smuttiness, depending on how it’s depicted and as long as the audience is mature enough to handle it. What I take issue with is that this movie seems to be portraying this sort of behavior as acceptable and funny and quirky for teenage girls. And considering the target audience for this flick, not sure that’s something you should communicate, Movie!
Also, can we talk about kissing booths? I feel like those kinds of things wouldn’t fly these days, especially when led by high schoolers. And I’m talking in a world even without COVID-19.
In the more technical aspect of this “comedy,” the pacing is atrocious, especially in the beginning half of the film. There’s so much going on so fast that it was hard to keep up. I watched this movie with a friend and we kept asking ourselves and each other what the heck was going on. For instance, there’s a heavy exposition montage at the beginning with Elle. It would be like, “When we were little, we did this fun thing! And this fun thing! And then my mom died. Then this fun thing happened! Then this thing!” No joke. And then all the scenes after that, you’re just asking, “Who is this person? What is happening? How did they get here?”
So much happened between the first and second act—if this movie even had a three-act structure—that when Elle and Noah kiss for the first time, it already felt like it was the end of the movie. My friend and I were shocked to realize that the movie was only half-way done. So, honestly, this flick was about an hour too long.
The dialogue is also hilariously bad. This movie is another example of “This is how teenagers talk, right?” Although, I can’t really complain, because I picked up a few lines that I’m definitely gonna be quoting for a long time. Not because they were good, but because they were so odd and ridiculous.
And, just to add salt to the wound of having watched this movie, Molly Ringwald plays Noah and Lee’s mom just to remind us of better high school/coming-of-age films like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. I could hear “Don’t You Forget About Me” playing in the back of my mind as I watched this insult to the genre.
I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure by challenging myself to watch these “films.” But just know that I am doing this for you. I hope you guys appreciate what I am doing, and I hope you never watch this movie.
Episode 018 | Say Goodnight Kevin Podcast
Michael Schaffer and Matt Matias from the “Memes for Jesus” podcast join Kevin for a rip-roaring good conversation about what it’s like making “funny” content for, about, and with Christians on the world wide web. It’s the interview no one asked for, but boy howdy will you be begging for more after you hear this fantastic discussion! Enjoy!