‘The Kissing Booth 2’ is proof that Jacob Elordi’s abs can’t fix everything


Via Netflix

These women seem impressed by something, but we are not. “The Kissing Booth 2,” one of Netflix’s newest teen rom-coms, debuted to a disappointed crowd.

Have you ever had a best friend whose older brother (who’s also your boyfriend) goes to Harvard (where he spends time with a suspiciously pretty “friend” that you can’t stop stalking on Instagram) and now you feel totally abandoned because your boyfriend is on the other side of the country and your best friend has a girlfriend who doesn’t like you? Well wouldn’t you know it — Elle Evans finds herself in exactly that pickle in “The Kissing Booth 2.” Relatable, right? 

I’m a sucker for teen rom-coms, so I was excited for “The Kissing Booth 2.” Boy, was I wrong.

“The Kissing Booth 2” was bad for a lot of reasons, but the biggest is its complete lack of originality. It seems like there’s a formula for a Netflix teen rom-com sequel: Throw in some trust issues to shake up the main couple, introduce an artsy new love interest for your leading lady, then flush the last two hours down the drain and have the main couple get back together with no development whatsoever. 

In “The Kissing Booth 2,” Elle falls for Marco, the guitar-playing new kid who just so happens to be a Dance Dance Mania savant, all while trying to maintain a crumbling long-distance relationship with her boyfriend Noah. In another (better) Netflix rom-com, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” Lara Jean navigates insecurities about her relationship with her boyfriend Peter as she reconnects with old-friend John Ambrose. I’m just going to say it: Lara Jean and Elle both deserved better. Remember that time Noah thought yelling after Elle and slamming the roof of his car would be a good way to convince her to hop on in? Yeah, me too. And Peter’s not much better — his disregard for Lara Jean’s feelings make John Ambrose seem like a far superior choice. Still, Lara Jean and Elle both settle for the familiar guy from the first movie, making incredibly similar choices along their harrowing journeys. “The Kissing Booth 2” basically feels like the white version of “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” and fails to add anything that would make it special.

Perhaps I would have liked “The Kissing Booth 2” better had it come out before “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” because at least it would have seemed original. But even the parts that weren’t seemingly plagiarized were just … bad. The movie starts off with one of Elle’s iconic monologues-montage combos about her summer romance with Noah, making me cringe the way only she can. 

There’s also a subplot about a Dance Dance Mania competition that was boring, confusing and clearly only there as a mechanism to drive Elle and Marco together. A Dance Dance Mania subplot — really? Is that all the writers could come up with? 

But the most annoying part of “The Kissing Booth 2” is Elle’s big dilemma regarding where she wants to go to college. See, she has to choose between going to the University of California, Berkeley (where her best friend Lee is going, and where she has to go according to their friendship rulebook), and Harvard (where Noah is going). Oh Elle, how I wish I had your problems. But rather than making a choice based on which school is better for her major, Elle is choosing based on whether she wants to spend the next four years with Noah or Lee. Not to be repetitive, but oh, Elle, pick yourself, and stop deciding your life based on the boys around you. 

This all goes to say that this movie was terrible. Really, really terrible. But I know I’m going to watch it again (perhaps right after I finish rewatching the first movie). Sure, it’s cheesy, frustrating and (according to sources I cannot reveal) on Netflix’s cringe-binge playlist, but a wise person once told me that “cheesy is easy on the brain.” They’ve not yet been proven wrong. In the end, “The Kissing Booth 2” falls in the same category as BuzzFeed or slither.io: It’s a great way to waste time (2 hours and 12 minutes in this case), and you know what? Sometimes, wasting time is fun.