Title: Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List
Fix: Biffles, NYC, Hipster Kids You Secretly Want To Be
Naomi and her gay best friend, Ely, have been inseparable since childhood, but their bond faces its biggest test yet when they fall for the same guy.
Naomi and Ely are super hip NYU kids who don’t go north of 14th street in New York City. The No Kiss List is a document on which there are names of boys neither is ever allowed to make out with. Naomi and Ely are totally platonic besties, except that Naomi is sure that someday Ely will wake up straight and want to marry her. Instead, Naomi vacillates losing her virginity* to her boyfriend, Bruce 1, and when she forgets to meet up with him one day, he runs into Ely and oops! The two make out. Thus Naomi facilitates a breakup of epic proportions, complete with the classic here’s-your-box-of-stuff-where’s-mine and custody arrangements as far as local cafes. WILL THEY EVER BE NAOMI-AND-ELY AGAIN? Meanwhile, Naomi gets secret cassette mix tapes** and has to figure out who is sending them to her.
*It’s a choice every woman has got to make for herself, as Saint Cher Horowitz said, but probably your reasoning shouldn’t be that you’re waiting for a gay man to deflower you. Not to police your body or anything, but come on.
**Yes, it takes place in 2014. yes, Naomi thinks that is super twee, even for this world
This is based on the book of the same name by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. It’s their second of four collaborations, all of which are music reference-laden odes to New York about white kids with lots of freedom but also parents, unlike Gossip Girl kids (in the books, not the show).
Victoria Justice as Naomi
Nickelodeon teen star grows up! That’s literally everything I know about the actress without checking her IMDb profile. But as far as the character, Naomi’s one of those girls that could get a new boyfriend every minute if she wanted to, and I hate girls like that tbh. But she’s also using that personality as a front to mask her anxiety about sex and the fact that her mother is deeply depressed after an ugly divorce (N’s dad had sex with one of E’s lesbian moms, who have chosen to stay together and work things out) and cannot function at all.
Pierson Fodé as Ely
I have never heard of this guy. He is pretty, uncomfortably so. As a character, Ely is actually the more palatable of the two. Yes, he’s kind of the cliché GBF character, and we really don’t need more stereotypes in the world, but he also keeps it real and tells Naomi when she’s being ridiculous BUT also indulges her in the fun they have, because he’s a really wonderful friend.
Matthew Daddario, Griffin Newman, and Monique Coleman as Gabriel, Bruce 1, and Girl-Robin
The boys are, again, uncomfortably pretty, and I guess Monique Coleman drank from the same fountain of youth as Bianca Lawson, because she’s 35. Gabriel is a doorman, Bruce 1 is the aforementioned boyfriend of both main characters, and Girl-Robin is, as told by Naomi, her backup friend. (You can judge, but you have one too. Be ashamed. But then remember that you’re someone’s backup friend too.)
Couch-Sharing Capability: Better Together
I think I missed out on some of the joys of this movie by watching it alone. Friendship movies should be watched with friends, always.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Low to Medium
If you are the type of person for whom alcohol helps you stop multitasking, have a glass of wine, because there are a lot of characters (Bruce 1, Bruce 2, Girl-Robin, Boy-Robin), and it can get confusing fast. Otherwise you’re probably good to go.
Use of Your Netflix Subscription: Good
In terms of what I can remember from the book (I’m fairly certain there were actual playlists involved, and they were better than most of the film soundtrack), this does not live up. In terms of just being a thing to stream on a Saturday afternoon, it’s not half bad. It’s mainly that it suffers from being based on a book written for us - that is, the now-twentysomething Millennials - but stars today’s teen stars, and it can’t decide whether it wants to be an indie, hipster dose of snark or a clean, sparkly, ABC Family (what is its name now? I forget) image of New York, and bouncing between the two only works so well. BUT major points for being one of very few films I can think of that depicts friendships being as complex, heartbreaking, and fulfilling as romantic relationships, and that counts for a lot. There is also a beautiful moment where Bruce describes coming out to his mom, and she asks if this means he’s “gay now,” and he says, “It just means I’m not straight,” and nobody ever harangues him or tries to say that being bisexual is not a thing. Y’know, because it’s most definitely a thing. Basically, there are probably better things you can do with a Saturday afternoon, but we both know you don’t plan to do them, so you should grab your girlfriends and/or GBF and watch this together.