Starring: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elodi
Director: Vince Marcello
Running Time: 105 mins
The Kissing Booth is an American film about a girl who falls in love with her best friend’s older brother, and is forced to confront her secret crush when working on a kissing booth at her school fair.
In all honesty, this film is pretty much everything you’d expect. Although I’ll say it has its moments, and the odd laugh from time to time, it’s a generally dull and irritating high school romance with nowhere near enough depth to intrigue you, nor enough simple comedy to make for an entertaining watch. It’s nothing awful, but there’s nothing really about The Kissing Booth that will grab you.
Before we get into the film’s inevitable flaws, let’s have a quick look at what it does right. In general, while it lacks real comedic ingenuity, there are a couple of moments which did make me laugh. Above all, when the film temporarily lulls away from its central story, there’s some opportunity for simple and entertaining humour. Again, it’s nothing spectacular, but it definitely brightens the film from time to time.
Apart from that, there wasn’t all that much else that really impressed me about The Kissing Booth. Of course, I’m not a 14 year-old girl (the clear target audience for this film), and I’ve seen enough of these high school romantic comedy-dramas to know what’s coming from the start, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that this film is still pretty much bare of any real intrigue or proper entertainment.
Above all, it’s incredibly generic, and definitely doesn’t have the depth to provide any of the emotional intrigue that it’s going for. While there is conflict in the story, that between our main character and her best friend over the fact that she’s in love with his brother, it originates from a fairly forced and unconvincing ‘rule’ that means the conflict that eventually arises doesn’t feel natural enough to genuinely grab you.
What’s more is that it’s more than boring at times, unfortunately straying into the territory of irritating, trivial and juvenile idiocy, to the point that you really don’t want to care about any of the characters’ stories, simply because they’re not particularly pleasant to follow along to. While nobody is expressly awful, I found all of the characters – particularly the main ones – to be either dull or frustratingly shallow personalities, and despite the best efforts of the screenplay to bring some development and depth to their stories, it’s again another somewhat forced and unconvincing arc, meaning that I really wasn’t ever emotionally invested in the plot.
If you like your high school romances, then maybe you’ll find some entertainment from The Kissing Booth, but its painfully generic and predictable story, along with dull and generally less-than-likable characters, mean it’s far from a fun watch for the rest of us, and that’s why I’m giving it a 5.9 overall.