The Kissing Booth (2018) is a Netflix original, written and directed by Vince Marcello. The film is based on the novel Beth Reekles. The plot is about two teens that are best friends. It doesn’t get any deeper than that. The main characters, Elle and Lee, are born on the same day and they are best friends because their moms were best friends. Lee has a dreamy older brother, Noah, whose only characteristic is that he is dreamy. Since this is a high school drama, well prep school, of course the dorky main girl instantly falls in love with Noah. You can clearly tell from the opening montage that Elle’s love for Noah is merited by his good looks and…that’s about it. And there is something about rules Elle and Lee make up as kids. They have multiple rules that they quickly gloss over because they aren’t important, but the one they do constantly remind you is that Elle can’t go out with Noah.
The rest of the movie revolves around annoying high school drama, if you could call it that, and their genius plot to make money for the school by hosting a kissing booth. If you are wondering why the movie is named after this plot point, it doesn’t matter. As much as the movie attempts to help you make the connection and symbolism of the kissing booth, and they try way too hard, it doesn’t matter enough to name the movie after it. Maybe the book did a better job creating this connection, but for the plot, as generic as it is, it doesn’t matter.
So the main character Elle, who if you don’t hate her by minute 13 you will learn to, is tasked with organizing the kissing booth and even get Noah and the popular girls to participate. Then there is more high school stuff that doesn’t matter until finally the day of the fundraiser. The kissing booth is a success, maybe that is why it is the name sake? And Elle ends up kissing Noah without knowing. The rest of the movie becomes annoying couple stuff where the two try to keep their relationship a secret and you get to see their love grow as they just bang. It’s a generic high school drama, you know how it goes.
This film is dull. The main characters are such bad people that I stopped caring about them instantly. Noah is hyperbolically perfect to the point where he isn’t even real and this all feels like a dream of some awkward girl. But I’ll give them credit. The awkward scenes are extremely awkward. Other than that, it was too generic to hold your attention. They try to fake you out a couple times where you believe that the two best friends would end up together, and I would have probably like it better if they did because Lee was a little more real than his brother, but they don’t, and you end up hating yourself for sitting through so much of this film. At an hour in I couldn’t believe I had made it this far.
My favorite part of the film is the ending credit scenes. They had such confidence in their final product that they believed people would stay till the end. I only made it that far because I had to, and the credit scenes are awkward and unimportant. They aren’t even bloopers, it is just awkward scenes of the actors being “silly” and at that point I just turned it off.
This isn’t worth your time. The side characters are forgettable. The plot isn’t good. The acting is ok but the concept doesn’t help in the slightest. I didn’t care about this movie. Maybe it’s because I’m not the target audience but it did a poor job grabbing and holding my attention. Netflix needs to stop spreading itself so wide and focus on making more quality content, as of now it is becoming the “strait to VHS” bargain bin crap you skip at Walmart. I’d say skip this and watch something else. Final verdict: 3 out of 10.