Even before The Kissing Booth was out, I was already counting the days before I could see it but when it finally arrived, it took me a while to finally buckle down to watch it. The reason: I already started shipping immediately after I saw the trailer and I didn’t want to get torn in case the film introduced a love triangle. I’m happy to note though that after I’ve seen its entirety, I am impressed by the simple, formulaic rom com that held its own in terms of originality.
Synopsis: Elle (Joey King) and Lee (Joel Courtney) were born on the same day to BFF moms making them instant BFFs too. They spent their entire lives together and have been inseparable since birth. As friends, they have developed a set of rules to maintain their strong relationship and one of them is that Elle can not, in any way fall in love with Lee’s big brother Noah (Jacob Elordi). At first, it seemed like a plausibe rule but feelings change and pretty soon Elle and Noah fall in love. The problem is that they have to keep everything a secret from Lee.
I loved The Kissing Booth, which was adapted from a Wattpad novel by Beth Reekles. It was light and it was funny but it didn’t go the route of the best friend secretly harboring feelings for the girl and competing with the brother for her affections. It was just plain old sibling rivalry and a childhood fear that kept Lee from appreciating Elle and Noah’s relationship and it made the story flow so much easier.
There was really strong chemistry between Joey King and Jacob Elordi (yes, despite the height difference), so much so that that two stars started dating in real life soon after finishing the shoot for the Netflix rom com. These two are just so cute together, on and off screen.
The scenes were very simple and formulaic but very effective because of their natural rapport. In the same way, King gelled well with Joel Courtney which made for a very convincing portrayal of friendship between the two. What’s good is that the relationships were clearly established in the film so audiences don’t have to feel conflict over which ship to root for.
On the downside, I think that in the interest of fan service (via shirtless scenes by Noah and cleavage scenes by Elle), the characters suffered a bit because Elle seemed rebellious without being smart while Noah’s character could have benefitted from some exploration of his back story. There was a good opportunity to do this when he opened up to Elle about his tendency to get into fights, and Lee’s excessive reaction when he saw Elle get hurt. However, the film failed to flesh this out to provide a more compelling reason for Lee’s opposition to their relationship and its just a shame.
Still, by its end, viewers will still find themselves wanting more. By leaving the story open ended, The Kissing Booth managed to pique audiences’ interest for a sequel. I, for one, would want to find out what happens to these three characters in a follow up movie that would plug the loopholes that this one forgot to close. But I have no complaints. The Kissing Booth is one movie that I would gladly see over and over again. Its still streaming on Netflix so catch it when you can.