Starring: Victoria Justice, Pierson Fode, Matthew Daddario
Director: Kristin Hanggi
Running Time: 90 mins
Naomi And Ely’s No Kiss List is an American film about two best friends who decide to keep a list of boys that neither can go out with, in order to prevent their friendship breaking over a fight about boys.
This film is a little all over the place. On the one hand, it’s a rather cheesy and often overly simple film about a rather shallow friendship, yet on the other, it has some really dark and dramatic moments that did at times really grab my attention. As such, Naomi And Ely’s No Kiss List is a film that’s rather difficult to like, but still has its moments that will definitely keep you engaged.
Let’s start with the film’s main focus, however, in the form of its two main characters. Naomi and Ely are played by Victoria Justice and Pierson Fode respectively, yet the strangest thing is that they’re not the most dynamic duo you’ve ever seen on the big screen.
For a film that aims to look at a strong friendship for the majority of its runtime, these two seem really unsuited to one another, with only their occasional mentions of past struggles together lending any depth to their friendship, and the majority of their time together being peppered with bickering and frustration.
What’s more is that the performances from Justice and Fode aren’t all that spectacular either, and really don’t go that well together on screen. Fode is a fairly likable presence, and his flamboyant attitude on screen gives the film some good energy at times. Justice, on the other hand, isn’t particularly fun to watch, as she overplays the pessimistic elements of her character to the point of pure nastiness, while her occasionally no-nonsense attitude towards her friends and those around her is really rather off-putting throughout.
As a result, I really found it difficult to be convinced by the central friendship here, and definitely even harder to really like the two leads, which meant that the film’s entire first half, which focuses on the strength of their friendship, was rendered dull and really rather pointless for me.
The saving grace for this film comes at the beginning of its second act, where the inevitable rupture in the duo’s friendship actually strikes up some rather interesting drama. Surprisingly, the film transitions from a light-hearted comedy to something with some genuinely dark drama, and although that change is really quite jarring, it at least drew my interest for a good period of time, something that I really didn’t expect to see in a movie that, at least from the outside, seems very simplistic and cheesy.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t last all too long, and the film’s finale is a disappointingly simplistic conclusion to affairs. At times, the movie’s light-heartedness is annoying, and yet there are pessimistic elements that also make it a rather unlikable watch. In that, it’s a film that really is all over the place, but thanks to a strong middle portion with some genuinely striking drama, there is still something to get out of Naomi And Ely’s No Kiss List, which is why I’m giving it a 6.5 overall.