The Kissing Booth 2

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Joel Courtney as Lee Flynn and Joey King as Shelly "Elle" Evans in The Kissing Booth 2.
Joel Courtney as Lee Flynn and Joey King as Shelly "Elle" Evans in The Kissing Booth 2.
Photo: Marcos Cruz/Netfilx


The Kissing Booth 2




3/5 Stars


With college decisions looming, Elle juggles her long-distance romance with Noah, changing relationship with bestie Lee and feelings for a new classmate.


I've got to hand it to Netflix – they really know what they're doing with the teen romance genre. Give the hopeless romantic in me the popular kid in school, who reveals his softer side when he falls in love, and my heart, as Joey King's Elle Evans would say, is doing backflips.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before and The Kissing Booth are two of my favourite Netflix romcoms. However, while I felt as though I built To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You up to the point that I was disappointed when I finally watched it, I actually thought The Kissing Booth 2 was better than the first film.

The sequel sees Elle Evans return for her senior year of high school (shout-out to UCT and all the other local Cape Town spots where filming took place) and trying desperately to be mature to make her long-distance relationship with Noah (Jacob Elordi) at Harvard work. Of course, that's a lot harder than it seems, and Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), a new best friend in Noah's life, and Marco (Taylor Zakhar) in Elle's, leaves our leading lady torn – and I get why.

See, I've always definitively chosen a team (Team Edward, Team Peter/Peeta (both Kavinsky and Mellark) and Team peanut butter cheese and jam – fight me), but if Noah Flynn made my heart do backflips, Marco with the guitar and the voice of an angel had me somersaulting into a pool of my emotions!

But I digress.

The love triangle in The Kissing Booth 2 will have you conflicted. I didn't know if I should root for the guy I fell in love with in the first film or the charming, funny and kind Marco. And that adds to an already well thought out storyline, with several subplots to keep you entertained.

The film followed much of the same premise: Elle having a new project to work on – this time being a dance competition instead of the kissing booth fundraiser – while having to make tough decisions that test her friendship with Lee (Joel Courtney).

I love seeing Joey and Joel's real-life friendship play out on screen. During our interview Joey said: "When you spend that many hours with somebody you kind of develop your own, like, secret language of sanity," before sharing they've even got one friendship rule that absolutely cannot be broken. "Never let the other person get milkshakes alone." The romance in the film will melt your heart, but Joey and Joel's chemistry is undeniable. Their scenes are comedy gold.

Of course, Lee's also got his own relationship with Rachel (played by South African actress Meganne Young) to worry about in The Kissing Booth 2. There's Noah's mysterious secret life – and new girl – while we see snippets of the school's popular kid struggle with his sexuality throughout the movie.

There's a lot going on – The Kissing Booth 2 is more than two hours long – but if you were a fan of the first movie, you'll enjoy every minute of the sequel. And following the same formula isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The Kissing Booth – 1 and 2 – manages to perfectly balance romance and comedy to give you a light, feel-good movie that you also don't have to think too long and hard about – unless you're engaging with the Team Noah-Team Marco threads on Twitter – pretty sure I'm Team Marco. And if you're a hopeless romantic like me, that's exactly the kind of movie you want to watch on a lazy Friday night – the kind that has you throwing your head back laughing, all the while, having your heart doing backflips.



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