The Kissing Booth
The Kissing Booth is a 2018 American romantic comedy film directed by Vince Marcello, based on the novel of the same name by Beth Reekles. It stars Joey King, Jacob Elordi and Joel Courtney. The film was released on May 11, 2018 on Netflix. While being popular with audiences, it has been panned by critics, including a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, often being accused of having sexist themes.
Two sequels, named The Kissing Booth 2 and The Kissing Booth 3, released on Netflix in 2020 and 2021 respectively. The latter of which, is said to be the final installment of the Kissing Booth movie trilogy.
Born on the same day and time in the same hospital, Elle Evans (Joey King) and Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney) have been best friends all their lives. To protect their special relationship, the pair created a set of friendship rules they are sworn to follow including #9: relatives totally off limits, especially Lee's bad boy older brother Noah (Jacob Elordi)
On the first day of school Elle's pants rip forcing her to go to school wearing a skirt that is too small. Tuppen, another student, touches her which almost gets Lee into a fight but Noah intervenes. Elle, having violated the dress code, has to serve detention with Noah and Tuppen. Tuppen later apologizes to Elle. She later agrees to go out with him however she is stood up. He goes to see her later that night to let her know that he was threatened by Noah not to go out with her.
Elle and Lee have to create a booth for the school carnival and decide on a kissing booth. The two have difficulty finding people to participate but get a group of popular girls called the OMG's (Olivia, Mia, and Gwyneth) to participate by lying to them saying that Noah likes one of them and will go if they go.
That night, the kissing booth is a success. However, girls including the OMG's become angry when they discover that Noah is not actually working the kissing booth. For payback, the girls send Elle up to the booth to kiss a nerdy kid while blindfolded. The boy switches with Noah having him next in line to kiss Elle. When Elle won't stop talking Noah kisses her, not knowing who it is she takes off her blindfold and Noah goes in for a second kiss. After cleaning up Elle sees Noah flirting with another girl so she runs home while Noah looks at her. While on her way home it starts to rain and Noah offers her a ride on his motorcycle. However, the rain gets too heavy and they have to stop. They shelter in a nearby glass ‘bandstand’ in a park. Elle kisses Noah again and he pulls away. After staring at each other Noah goes in for another kiss. Elle ends up pulling away, telling him she can't be another one of his conquests. He looks hurt but tells Elle why he likes her. They kiss again but are interrupted by a security guard who recognizes Noah and tells him to stop bringing girls there. Elle gets upset that Noah brought her to the place where he brings his other girlfriends and leaves.
The next day while at a party Elle is harassed by another student and Noah almost starts a fight with him. This causes her to storm off but Noah requests her to get in his car. Instead of going home he takes her to the Hollywood Sign and they talk about their relationship. They both admit to liking each other and decide to come up with rules for their relationship, one being that Lee never finds out. The two kiss and end up having sex.
Elle and Noah start to see each other secretly and are careful that Lee or anyone else don't find out. While in Noah's room his mom almost walks in on them and Elle has to hide. While hiding she overhears her say that he had been accepted to an Ivy League school. Soon after he reveals to her that he is going to Harvard and she starts to realize that he won't be around next year. One day while hanging out with Noah, Lee walks in on him tending to a cut on her face. He become suspicious and asks Elle if it was Noah who hurt her. This infuriates Noah and they are about to get involved in a fight, but Elle stops them and takes Lee away. Lee asks her is there is something going on between the two of them, to which she denies. She ends up feeling guilty about lying to Lee and goes back to Noah and tells him that they need to come clean that night and when Noah agrees he says that way he can take her to prom. They kiss but Lee ends up seeing it. Hurt, Lee attempts to leave his house but Elle tries to get him to talk before Noah intervenes and eventually get into a fight. After backing off, Lee leaves and Elle tells Noah to leave her alone.
Lee starts giving Elle the silent treatment and Noah goes missing. While at the arcade one day Lee invites Elle over to play a game and they make up and make plans for their upcoming birthday party. Before prom, Noah finally returns but to talk to Elle's dad who says he does not approve but it is her decision.
Elle goes to prom with Lee and his girlfriend Rachel and has a good time until a replica of their kissing booth is revealed. Noah comes out from behind the curtains to tell Elle that he loves her but she responds by saying that she cannot keep on hurting the people she loves because of him and that no one wants them to be together. Noah agrees to this but then asks her what does she want. To this Elle does not seem to have an answer and she runs away sobbing. Rachel chases after her but she gets away before they can say anything.
The next day at their costume themed birthday party, Elle begins missing Noah and decides to leave. Lee stops her and Elle tells him that she loves him but she also loves Noah and if he can't accept that then maybe they shouldn't be friends. Lee, finally accepts that Noah makes her happy and agrees to help Elle find him. Elle and Lee get in the car and leave for the airport. She starts sharing her true feelings for Noah to Lee and then it is revealed that all this time in the car it was Noah in Lee's costume. Elle is surprised to see Noah and admits to him that she loves him. They embrace and kiss.
During the next few weeks, Elle and Noah spend every day together before he has to leave for college. When it is time to go Elle goes with him to the airport and he leaves. After watching him leave, she drives off on Noah's motorcycle saying that she does not know if they will be together forever but she knows that a part of her heart will always belong to Noah Flynn. The story ends with Elle stating that everything happened just because of the Kissing Booth
Why It Sucks
- Too many expository monologues and montages.
- It somehow got two more sequels and those are just as bad, if not worse then this.
- Despite Elle's frequent voiceovers, we are taught very little about the characters, even the main protagonist.
- Much of the plot seems to favor the characters getting undressed as much as possible, with scenes like the paint fight and when Elle attempts to go skinny-dipping after getting drunk.
- Lee and Noah seem like they're always trying to rescue Elle, as if she can't defend for herself, and Noah tries to control her dating life too.
- Noah is an unlikable love interest, being violent in general, in one scene tells Elle that wearing a skirt like she was is asking to be sexually assaulted, and tries to control her dating life. His anger issues are also never explained.
- On the topic of the skirt, she gets the same punishment for breaking the dress code by wearing it as the guy that assaults her does, and to put salt on a wound, the movie in general doesn't seem to take the fact that he assaulted her seriously, rather playing it for laughs.
- Furthermore, she later agrees to go out with that guy.
- The OMG Girls are only in the movie because apparently every teen movie has to have some mean popular girls in it.
- We know nothing about the parents of the main characters.
- The titular kissing booth isn't seen until more than an hour into the movie.
- In 2018, Blindfolded teenagers kiss while others cheer them on, which is bizarre.
- To help decide whether she should give Noah a chance, Elle makes an awful pros/cons list, with one of the bullet points being that he smells yummy.
- Despite being an aggressive psychopath, Noah goes to Harvard.
- Noah declaring his love for Elle at the prom is extremely cliched, as is the bittersweet airport goodbye scene.
- Some good acting, especially from Joey King.
- Given the lack of teen comedies for the this generation, at least some people made an effort to make one.
- "I'm British, you wanker!" - British Beauty
The Kissing Booth was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 17% based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 3.59/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "The Kissing Booth deploys every rom-com cliché in the book with little care given to achieving any real sentiment."