Netflix needs to take a little more time making their original movies. The concept of quality over quantity is lost on the streaming service, as they continually churn out mediocre products. Is Netflix the McDonald’s equivalent of the film industry? If so, then I must be Morgan Spurlock, as I continually fall for their new releases and go in with excitement, only to be left feeling bloated and unhappy. The Kissing Booth (2018) brings the talented Joey King into their ever-expanding, star-studded catalog of actors that end up in their half-hearted attempts at cinema.
The Kissing Booth is this week’s special at Netflix
Shelly ‘Elle’ Evans (King) and Lee Flynn ( Joel Courtney) have been best friends since they were born, and have established a series of rules to keep their friendship perfect. However, Elle has had a crush on Lee’s older brother, Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi), for a while – and the rules prevent her from ever pursuing it. That is until the Kissing Booth forces Elle to confront her secret crush, possibly threatening to ruin her longest friendship in the process.
I suppose every coming of age or sexual awakening story can’t be good, but it seems like they should be. It’s one of the most relatable story types out there, as everyone goes through it at some point. Of course, going through something doesn’t mean you understand how to structure it or articulate the finer points. Director and writer Vince Marcello, who based the screenplay on the novel by Beth Reekles, has some work to do in order to make this a good film. The drama in the film is completely fabricated by teenagers just not communicating at all. It’s not like they try and struggle to come up with the words, but rather avoid ever saying anything that expresses the point they’re trying to make, allowing for the other person to jump to wild conclusions and throw major temper tantrums. Noah’s temper, in particular, is so caustic, it’s unbelievable that he hasn’t been expelled from his school, and even more unbelievable that he would be able to get into an Ivy League school. He basically gets into a fight almost every time he walks into the frame for the first half of the film.
Elle, despite a solid performance from King, is the cause of her own problems every step of the way. She has several opportunities to at least try and fix things, but the character just gets overly emotional and starts shouting orders at everyone else. Most of this film consists of students jumping to conclusions or being blindsided by events that they totally should have seen coming. Sprinkle in a bit of embarrassing cliché’s, i.e. a girl walking into the wrong locker room or her skirt being a bit too short, and voila! A coming of age story as generic as the title.
The Kissing Booth has some enjoyable moments, but between the bad green screen work in several scenes and soap opera style script, it ends up feeling very bad. King is terrific, and definitely has the most to do in the film…however, her talent isn’t enough to make this a good movie. Netflix’s The Kissing Booth earns the Not a Total Waste of Time rating.