Thursday, December 7, 2023
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The Kissing Booth Review

As I watch more films like The Kissing Booth, I wonder whether or not this is in fact how American teenagers act and communicate with one another. In a seemingly never-ending, virtual torture campaign put upon me by Netflix, The Kissing Booth brings the worst of the worst. The lowest rung of the genre, something no person with a brain between their ears should have to sit through more than once. Even once is more than enough for me, and the immediacy of how awful this film is becomes truly startling.

Our trio of characters are absolutely detestable. The lowest rung of all for how despicable and one-note high school characters can be. Caricatures dominate every scene, in a script that has no subtlety or originality to it. A one-dimensional lead in the form of Joey King paves the path to complete farcical, conventional melodrama that takes us absolutely nowhere. A weird disconnect between everything featured throughout makes for a disjointed creation, one where the characters feel obsolete, the direction vaguely in touch with the script as we work our way through an unbelievably poor, stretched out waste of time.

Useless tropes litter our narrative, a weak soundtrack stapled over the top as we struggle to connect with these destructive, dislikeable puppets. Characters and moments that feel they were written by stuffed up boardroom executives that haven’t been invited to a party in a good twenty years. The gall this film has to imply that a simple kissing booth can matter so much to an entire year group is either an incredibly intelligent musing on the flatlining, two-dimensional culture of college teenagers, or just plain dumb. I presume it’s the latter category, and as The Kissing Booth begins to veer away from all the tricks in the book, it uses the final few moments to gear itself up for a soppy, closed-book ending.

I expected nothing, and that’s exactly what I got with The Kissing Booth. Negligent to any form of quality or exceptional character growth. No talent anywhere to be found, nothing to really consider, somehow falling the blow the average bar of whiny teenage rom-com. Predictable dialogue, weak roles for underwhelming performers and static, flat direction. Everything I completely loathe about this sub-genre, amplified to extremes of astronomically horrific proportions. Coy little music tropes, a contemptible trio of leading performers who have been sapped of any grain of talent they previously possessed, The Kissing Booth is a vehement, loathsome piece.

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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