Title: The Kissing Booth
Fix: You’re Dying To Watch Every YA Cliché There Is In One Movie
When teenager Elle’s first kiss leads to a forbidden romance with the hottest boy in high school, she risks her relationship with her best friend.
Elle and her best friend Lee have grown up together since the day they were born, quite literally. They have a pretty solid set of rules for their BFF, things like always apologize with ice cream, tell each other when food is stuck in your teeth, and don’t date your friend’s siblings.
Except Lee’s older brother, Noah, is hot. Stupid hot. It’s impossible for a red-blooded girl like Elle not to swoon over him, but she’s got it under control (mostly).
Then Lee gets the great idea to create a kissing booth for their school’s…charity carnival… (This was super vague; pretty sure the film wants us to just go with it) and Elle accidentally ends up locking lips with Noah. Cue the camera spins and fireworks, because both parties are wowed. Now they can’t keep their hands off each other, but in the back of her mind, Elle knows she’s one makeup sesh away from losing her best friend. Is great sex worth the price of friendship?
There is something about Joey King that I find super likeable. I loved her in this even when I had problems with it. I remember her back in Ramona and Beezus with Selena Gomez and she had the cutest little face with the hugest blue eyes! Now she’s all grown up and parading around in her bra a lot, but she still sounds and looks (in a non-creepy way) like an actual teen, so good on the casting director for actually using age-appropriate actors.
The only thing I’ve seen Joel in is Super 8, but he reminded me so much of…someone! It’s on the tip of my brain. Do YOU know who he looks like? He played the friend role well—he made it believable enough that I wanted to smack him when he got all jerky about Elle’s love life, despite the fact that it’s none of his damn business.
Hot Aussie alert, y’all. Jacob doesn’t have his accent in the movie, but he could’ve used it to make the crappy behavior sound better. I spent most of the movie waffling between the opinion of, okay, he’s pretty cute when he smiles, even though he has Bieber hair, and then thinking I’m probably getting way too old to be ogling a twenty-year-old’s body like this.
Also, apparently all that fake smooching has created an IRL couple out of Jacob and Joey:
Molly plays the Flynn boys’ mom, who was BFFs with Elle's mom before she passed away. She is really enjoying the YA mom tv/film circuit, isn’t she?
Couch-Sharing Capability: Flying Solo
Alright, let me take a deep breath, because I’m about to get up on my soap box. First, in full disclosure, I will say that I was (mostly) entertained by this movie. It was cute, it was fluffy, it had attractive people in it. HOWEVER. Just like Posh had issues with the book when she reviewed it, I was a trifle appalled at the message this movie conveyed. Noah was suuuper “protective” AKA a controlling douche a la Edward Cullen. Lee was suuuper butt-hurt about his friend being happy with his brother (though not for the reason he should’ve been mad, which is that Noah treats Elle like she’s a toy he doesn’t want to share with others) AKA not a cool best friend at all. Elle clapped back and let Noah know she wasn’t a child, she wasn’t his to make safe, she was a grown-ass woman…and then five seconds later she was on the back of his motorcycle heading to another sexcapade.
Which, fine, get yours. But the adult in me was looking around at all these younger, impressionable teenage girls watching this movie who are potentially swooning over Noah Flynn and wishing they had someone like that in their life, and I was inwardly cringing.
So I say watch this one solo so no one else has to hear you ranting at the screen, unless you have a young niece or sister you’d like to annoy with your feminist interjections to make sure they understand the dangers of chauvinist men (they’ll thank you later, I’m sure).
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Bottom’s Up
If you’re watching solo, you may as well get all the alcohols to play a little drinking game with yourself every time someone does something that annoys you.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Good When You Need To Turn Off Your Brain
I’m down with Netflix starting a trend of adapting YA novels (we all know there are some great ones out there), though I don’t think this was the best they could've started with. Yet despite being problematic, I can’t say “don’t watch this”, because, well, I kind of enjoyed it? Sometimes you just settle for a predictable, trope-ridden movie you can yell at.