Netflix has released the sequel to the problematic rom-com The Kissing Booth a few days ago. It’s safe to say that no matter how cheesy or problematic these movies are, they have an audience. They have two easy demographics, the hopeless romantic tweens and teens and the film buffs who want to roast the crap out of it. Because I tend to avoid movies which are infamous for their quality, I was genuinely curious to give this one a try, to truly understand what it feels like. Why would I that? I don’t fucking know but here we are.
Disclaimer to TKB fans: I know there are genuine fans of these movies so this is a warning to you. You have been warned.
To anyone that hasn’t heard of these movies, they are essentially romantic comedies filled to the brim with cliches, bad performances and a ton of WTF moments. You might be thinking, it’s a rom-com why are you giving it this much attention. To that I say… you’re right! However, I stayed up till four in the morning yesterday or rather, today because I watched both movies for the first time back-to-back. Truth be told I have never regretted a decision this much in my life. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember much of my experience, it all feels like a blur. I do remember that as time went on I started to laugh hysterically for no reason, in fact, I think these two movies may have temporarily broken me. At first, I wanted to be original and break down what makes these movies so atrocious but honestly, I am at a point where I honestly don’t think these movies deserve a well-thought-out essay so I’m gonna rant the shit out of them.
First off, I want to make it extra clear that I know that these movies are meant as cheesy rom-com made for tweens and teens, basically me. I know that they’re not going for critical acclaim. That being said these movies are not even trying to be somewhat entertaining. I honestly don’t think I have ever seen a cast of characters this unlikeable. The worst offence of all though has to be, the misogyny and harmful tropes this movies present. In the first movie, the main character Elle takes her shirt off, I’d say about five times, all with close-up shots. This is directed by a 48-year old white guy. There is one scene in specific which just stands out to me. Elle takes her shirt off in the boys’ locker-room, (how clumsy right!), when big boy Noah comes in and demands that she puts her shirt on and leave, she decides to do whatever she wants because she is her own person. What does she do with this empowering energy? She exhibits a couple “sexy” moves in front of the whole boys’ locker-room who cheer her on. You think that’s bad? Oh, that’s nothing compared to how the movie makes light of sexual assault.
Poor Elle rips her school pants and her back-ups are at the cleaners because apparently, a family with a house like this does not own a washing machine. Anyways she wears her school skirt from a previous year and boy is it short. So short, in fact, that a guy grabs her from behind leading big boy Noah to beat him up because you know, toxic masculinity. After that, they all end up in detention and I kid you not I couldn’t believe it with my own eyes what happens in this scene. Sexual Assaulter Tuppen (yes that’s his name) starts sending letters to Elle during detention. She giggles and writes to him saying that if he wants her number, he has to do something embarrassing. He does that and she gives him her number and they go on a date. Yes, you read that right. Is it true? Well, not completely he ditches the date because big boy Noah asks him to back off. Keep in mind Noah and Elle are not romantically linked yet and he is treating her like his own. Anyways fast forward, Elle and Noah have sex by the Hollywood sign, just cause. They end up together happily ever after. SEQUEL TIME!
The Kissing Booth 2 starts off exactly where it’s predecessor left off. The entire plot of this movie revolves around jealousy and pure dumbassery. I really, REALLY hated Elle in this movie. Noah is off to college and she is about to graduate from high school. She notices that he’s hanging out with this girl, Chloe. She starts to immediately hate this poor girl for no reason whatsoever. Keep in mind that before Chloe enters the picture, there is an entire scene where she describes newcomer Marco’s body in at least seven different ways, claiming that he is a “snack”. She later finds an earring under Noah’s bed and storms off without asking Noah or even bothering to talk about it. This goes on for a while and by the third act, she is convinced that Noah is cheating on her. The movie hints at it twice but it’s very obvious that nothing happened. Anyways while all of this is happening she gets closer with Marco and after winning a dance tournament (no, I won’t get into it) SHE kisses him. Obviously, if you suspect your boyfriend is cheating on you, the only right thing to do is to cheat back. RIGHT? Anyways this toxic relationship gets salvaged because of course it does and poor Marco is left alone after literally doing nothing wrong. So that’s basically how toxic the main characters are, let’s move on to how dumb this movie is! Believe you’re gonna want to read this.
As a white guy, I can honestly say that these two movies are the whitest movies I have ever seen. Not only in terms of diversity (which there is none of) but also these characters are privileged, rich, white teens who go to a fancy school and live in huge houses and yet they cry, legitimately cry when something doesn’t go their way. They are spoiled, selfish, annoying characters who get everything they want. Big boy Noah gets accepted into fucking Harvard. HOW? I don’t know. Elle gets accepted into TWO colleges and all she had to do was literally say that she doesn’t know what to be in five years in her college essay. Of course, she gets accepted into two colleges. Now let’s talk about representation, specifically LGBTQ+ representation and how these movies just excel at it. In the first movie, I kid you not, we got one scene where a guy walks past another guy and the guy standing there felt flustered. No words, no names, just that scene. They return afterwards dancing together. That is literally it. The sequel decided to take it up a notch with a half-assed gay sub-plot which no one cares for. They’re in the movie for about eight minutes in total, keep in mind, it’s a two hour and twelve-minute movie. They kiss at the kissing booth and everyone cheers, including sexual assaulter Tuppen who gets more screen-time.
Did this rant make any sense? I don’t know but it sure helped. I didn’t want to review The Kissing Booth 2 because it was obviously going to get an F so I decided to do something different. I could go on about why these movies are abominations for hours but this is already long enough. Besides, The Kissing Booth 3 is confirmed for next summer so I guess we have that to look forward to. If by any chance, you are somehow a fan of these movies, maybe reconsider? There are much more, less problematic teen rom-coms out there.
Have you seen The Kissing Booth voluntarily?
If so, WHY?