While The Kissing Booth lacks in important lessons, it still has entertaining qualities


I’m not normally the kind of person to enjoy cliches, especially when they pertain to high school and its cliques. However, when I heard about the mixed reviews for The Kissing Booth, I decided I had nothing better to do with my afternoon than to delve into the world of overdramatized high schoolers.

The movie is about best friends Elle Evans (Joey King) and Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney) who have, quite literally, known each other since birth. These friends have a set of rules they created when they were around six years old that they have abided by ever since. This becomes an issue for Elle as she discovers her deep feelings for her best friend’s older brother Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi). One of the most important rules, created by Lee, specifically condemns Elle from engaging in a romantic relationship with any of his family members- including Noah- making her attraction to him dangerous in a way.

The film in itself is like a 2018 variation of Mean Girls in which Cady- the main character from Mean Girls– isn’t a new kid, and she is falling in love with her friend’s sibling rather than a fake friend’s ex-boyfriend. Like the iconic movie that FHC’s health classes used to use to educate students on cliques and toxic friendships, this new Netflix original features jocks, popular girls (as more of a coincidence, the group is made up of three girls like Regina, Karen, and Gretchen), and then the two best friends who don’t really fit into a group.

On top of this, I had a difficult time refraining from getting annoyed by Lee’s controlling attitude in his friendship with Elle. While he doesn’t have to worry about her having issues with his romantic relationships, he constantly reminds Elle that his brother is off limits.

I also felt annoyed with Noah’s possessiveness over Elle, featured heavily at the beginning of the film. In the movie, he continuously drives away other boys interested in Elle with the justification that he’s simply protecting her from players. His theory that he has the right to infringe on her relationships when he’s barely friends with her is confusing to me because he says seeing her with these boys is like seeing someone date his little sister. The amount of jealousy it takes to be that possessive over someone with no romantic ties is unfathomable to me.

While the plot is slightly messy, and some of the characters are overdramatic, I still found myself enjoying the movie for some reason. It may not have been in any way educational, considering the only lesson to learn in the movie is that you don’t have any right to meddle in other people’s love lives, but it did give me a good laugh at its ridiculousness.

The quality of the filming is decent at all points except for when the scenes take place in front of green screens. In one scene, Elle is seen jumping off a balcony onto a trampoline and then into a pool, and at that point, the fake background is incredibly obvious.

The acting is believable at the bare minimum. The actors stick to a consistent representation of their characters, and there is no fault in the scenes in which I can see the actual actor rather than who they are portraying.

I didn’t particularly dislike the movie because I at least found some enjoyment in watching it, but the cliche of people falling in love because of a kissing booth was unrealistic. Aside from that, I would likely only recommend the film for when you’re bored, and even then, it would come as no surprise if you only paid attention half of the time.