I struggle to find the words to sufficiently describe the crime that is The Kissing Booth 2. When I say it is bad, I mean horrendous; when I say horrendous, I mean unbearable. A product of Netflix’s recent spiral downward into the realm of not caring what constitutes a quality movie as long as it maintains viewership, The Kissing Booth 2 is sadly a forewarning of more to come, namely the Kissing Booth 3, which is already in production. It’s difficult to understand what kind of menace this film is to your sanity without watching it, so I’ll elaborate. Imagine if a ten year old girl binge-watched Mean Girls, High School Musical, and the last season of Riverdale in one day, and then combined those inside her head in a dream. Imagine what that dream might entail, and maybe you can begin to understand what kind of agony The Kissing Booth 2 is to watch.
I have nothing against ten year olds having wonderful dreams about their futures, and in fact I wish them the best, but in no way should that dream ever be given a multimillion dollar budget and be produced into a movie. It is a sad reflection on humanity that this is one of the most watched movies on Netflix.
I would like to preface that I am clearly not the target audience for this movie, and any benefit from staring at attractive male leads was lost on me. The actors in the movie are for the most part fine: Joey King is pretty good as the lead — my uncle said she was great in The Act — and everyone else was at the very least adequate, although my uncle thought Jacob Elordi was really bad. The problems in this movie are greater than any talent could solve.
The plot, though virtually nonexistent, revolves around a high school senior, Elle Evans (King), who navigates a long distance relationship with her boyfriend at Harvard, and grapples with such difficulties as being interested in another guy and having trouble paying for college, though her incredibly fancy house and incredibly fancy school make this questionable. At the beginning of the movie, Elle tries to decide whether to apply to UC Berkeley or Harvard, but since she ends with being accepted into both, there’s basically no plot development whatsoever.
In hindsight, it probably would have been helpful to watch the first The Kissing Booth movie, but on second thought, there’s no way I’m going to put myself through that. I have certain instincts for self-preservation that are too strong. The entire movie is essentially just a bunch of disjointed semi-storylines and conflicts that happen within no apparent timeline. One second it’s the first day of school, and then the very next scene is everyone seeing the announcements for homecoming queen and king, and then all of a sudden it’s Thanksgiving. There’s this big Dance Dance Revolution contest that conveniently materializes, and at one point Elle’s boyfriend, who’s supposed to be at Harvard, shows up.
I could continue pointing out every plot inconsistency and lapse of logic in The Kissing Booth 2. Although this movie is technically free under my mom’s Netflix subscription, it was an agonizing 2 hours and 11 minutes of my life that I will never get back. I believe that what this movie uncovers is not the poor talent of the actors, director, and crew, but the dirty ocean that Netflix has jumped into: quantity over quality. The fact that Netflix shelled out millions of dollars to make a movie that was widely panned by critics — the first The Kissing Booth — then made a sequel with an even worse showing, and still plans to make a third one, displays how little they care about quality. Netflix has gotten to a point where as long as they can churn out new content every couple weeks, they will put little effort into what kind of art these movies and television shows actually represent.
There have always been bad movies, and stupid romantic comedies are not a new phenomenon, but never before have we seen such an influx of poorly produced and written shows than currently on Netflix. Other movies, like Swiped and The Perfect Date, exhibit similar traits to the The Kissing Booth franchise and are becoming more and more prominent in the Netflix kingdom. The Kissing Booth 2 is a special kind of bad movie that doesn’t even let you enjoy the mindless release that the genre usually promises. Unfortunately, it’s so bad that you can’t even enjoy the movie for its badness. In the wise words of my uncle, “This movie sucks!”