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THE KISSING BOOTH 2 gets 6/10 Doesn’t quite go the distance


Directed by Vince Marcello

Starring Joel King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Taylor Perez
Network: Netflix

6/10

The Kissing Booth 2: Going the Distance comes after the success of the first movie, from Perth-based production company, Komixx Entertainment. Originally published on Wattpad by Beth Reekles, Netflix deemed it a commercial success due to its mass viewership, though was met with negative reviews by critics.

The first movie had been criticised for portraying sexism and misogyny, however, this sequel tries to tackle or debunk some of those perceptions. Although Marco (Taylor Perez) comes across as the cocksure, pretty boy, and popular student at the school – he shows a level of empathy, intuitive understanding, and compassion that allows Elle’s character to grow and rediscover her worth. Yet despite all this, Elle is still made out to be the bad character – which is then put into perspective by Maisie’s character, in the emotional climax.

It is frustrating to watch Elle (Joey King) get hurt and frustrated with boyfriend Noah’s (Jacob Elordi) friendship with Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), which is mirrored in her bestie’s (Joel Courtney) relationship with Rachel (Meganne Young) – which seemed hypocritical in character development. It’s hard not to make similarities with The Devil Wears Prada, in particular the relationship Andy has with her boyfriend, and friends. Her ambition, perseverance, and career-obsession were showcased as bad things; which is emulated in Elle’s struggles throughout the film. It poses the theme of relationships, obsession, and dedication – specifically who we dedicate our time and energies to. The Kissing Booth 2 can be seen as an allegory: we can fill our cups to the brim and forget to take time to empty the cup.

On the flip side, the movie makes a point of reinforcing that men and women cannot be friends – or that partners will always be threatened by the friendship. Because of this, the overall plot is somewhat disjointed. At best, the movie follows snapshots of a year with students considering their future – which ultimately would’ve worked better as a television series than a movie.

However, The Kissing Booth 2 features many fun, light-hearted scenes: DDR competitions, neon lights, epic apologies, intimate self-discoveries, and a Love, Simon moment at the Kissing Booth that outshine some of the film’s development flaws.

The greatest part of the film is the chemistry between characters/actors, highlighted by direction and dialogue. The Kissing Booth 2 is fundamentally simplistic, and features many (if not all the) romance-comedy clichés and tropes. Besides the typical relationship drama, the plot to the sequel is nothing revolutionary – but it stands on its own legs and is an entertaining film to watch at the end of a long day.

JOSHUA HALL HAINES

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