The Kissing Booth is a romantic comedy released in 2018 through Netflix. Starring Joey King as Elle Evans, a teenage girl who finds herself falling in love for her best friend’s older brother Noah, despite a long-standing agreement with her best friend. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Beth Reekles.
At first glance, the film promises a simple and sweet teen love story with some drama thrown in. Maybe a wacky character or two and some laughs along the way too. But instead, the audience is thrown face first into awful writing, directing, editing, and all other components. From the opening credits, which falsely suggest Molly Ringwald in a starring role, whose involvement is actually little more than a glorified cameo, to the ending credits that come far too slowly, pain is exhibited by the viewer on a personal level.
Pinpointing exact issues is hard, because the film is a constant barrage of poor decisions. It tries to invoke feelings of young love but fails. It tries to have moments of sadness and sympathy but fails. It even fails to pander to its audience. Countless shirtless scenes are scattered throughout the movie, but none of them distracts the viewer from large plot holes and leaps of logic.
The actors are given direction that makes them seem both bipolar and robotic. They are given dialogue that causes the viewer to wonder, "How much did they pay her to say that? I bet it's not enough." Nobody is relatable because nobody seems real. They don't act like real people.
Plot? Forget about it, because this movie does. The pace is so slow that 30 minutes feels eternal. It's hard to know when the first, second, and third acts begin and end. It’s an anomaly of space time and reality.
Don't watch it. It's not funny, interesting, or relateable. It's worst offence? It's not even “so bad it's good.” It's simply so bad it makes me mad.
By Blake Preston