Hollywood is where every filmmaker wants to be. It is a dreamland for filmmaking and creating some of the highest quality films. But, not all of those films come out as they planned to be and are thrown into the “big pile of nonsense” category. Netflix original Kissing Booth is the latest to be added to the pile, and trust me, it’s all a bunch of complete and utter, lovey-dovey, chick-flicky nonsense.
Kissing Booth follows best friends from birth, Elle Evans (Joey King) and Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney) on their friendship and how they have bonded through their love of dance. To raise money for their dance at their school, they come up with the idea for a kissing booth, which turns out to be a pretty popular idea with the students. Having rules within their friendship since the age of 6, there are a lot of subjects off limits, and that includes Lee’s older brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi). Elle has always fancied Noah, but due to the rules, she has kept away to keep her friendship alive. However, now that she is older and growing out of her childhood memories, she begins to realise that Noah could possibly have the same feelings too. Could the kissing booth bring them together or does her friendship with Lee mean more to her than being with Noah?
Firstly, the film is completely outdated and is stuck in the past. Think of Mean Girls combined with 10 Things I Hate About You but with a poor undertone of sexist manners, a misunderstanding of gender dynamics and not knowing what makes a healthy relationship. Vince Marcello’s adaptation of Beth Reekle’s novel is written poorly and I don’t understand how Netflix saw past all the sexist nonsense. Even the hunk himself, Jacob Elordi can’t save this. He may be the guy that gets all the girls but is a poor hunk of an actor. Admittedly, he can’t do much about what was scripted to him but he could at least make an effort to be believable and talented. Instead, he’s just a piece of eye-candy and that is his sole purpose. Joey King is slightly better in terms of acting ability, but how she didn’t see the errors within the script, I will never know. Playing a supposedly dim-witted love interest, making mistakes such as wearing short skirts to school and getting spanked by a jock is acceptable. Yes, that was written into the script, and written into it, later on, was that she was to go out on a date with the guy. Just a question to all the girls out there reading this, if I spanked you on the arse, would you let me take you out on a date?… I’ll answer that for you. NO. Without going into too much detail about other outdated, sexist manners, this was not the only one written in the film, but this was the one that primarily stood out to me.
It follows all of the traditional conventions any other Hollywood rom-com would have. Stereotypical voice-over to express what’s going on in the protagonist’s mind, falling for each other during a rainstorm and kissing each other in front of all of the jealous girls in the crowd. Nothing says outdated more than that does. Personally, they need to move forward with the times. It’s a framework which gets constantly repeated. Be rid of the motorcycle, six-packed jocks, and pathetic, short-skirted female triplets and update the genre with how love is being truly portrayed today. No-one, especially in today’s society, has fallen in love like this. It’s selling a fantasized ridiculous story to impressionable teenagers. Give us reality, not fantasy.