Following on from a film populated by weird, inconsistent montages and a manipulative, creepy male lead, audiences were probably not expecting a masterpiece from this second instalment of The Kissing Booth. Indeed, the experience remains an unfunny and meandering assemblage of teen movie clichés, this time tackling weightier themes with the same impossibly broad brush.

Joey King stars as a high-schooler caught between university choices and competing affections. “What do I want to be in five years?” her character Elle asks. The narration is laboured but suggests to us a more nuanced, melancholic affair than before. This isn’t exactly false, but the messiness of the movie counters any amusement.

It’s hard to know where to start in regard to the film’s issues, not because it is remarkably terrible, but because it lasts over two hours and yet manages to leaves the viewer both bored and overwhelmed. The aesthetic of Kissing Booth 2 is one of absurdly rapid montages and scenes that abruptly end or else are completely detached from one another. The colours are highly saturated, rendering everything an artificially bright yellow. Furthering this digital, trendy, vacuous style are the innumerable references to internet culture, gaming, and social media. Occasionally, a tiny, almost invisible morsel of sincerity does manage to sneak through.

With that said, the most enjoyable moments of the movie are the most exaggerated and silly: the expensive, gargantuan Halloween ball – the Dance Dance Revolution contest – that surely confirms this series as the biggest representative of the game outside of Japan. Unfortunately, these joys are too few and far between, resulting in something that is at best mediocre.

While Joey King’s Elle is a fun enough protagonist for Netflix’s new wave of teen movies, this unimpressive sequel serves as yet another example of how trite and formulaic they often are.


Available to watch on: Netflix


CAST: Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Joel Courtney, Molly Ringwald, Taylor Zakhar Perez, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Meganne Young

DIRECTOR: Vince Marcello

WRITERS: Vince Marcello and Jay S. Arnold (screenplay), Beth Reekles (novel)

SYNOPSIS: After finding love, a teenager deals with new potential romances, fracturing friendships and the doubts that come along with life before University.