The Kissing Booth (USA, 2018)

The start of a successful trilogy, this is a modern day teen film about a young woman torn between her best friend and his brother, as she must deal with the consequences with dating the brother.

Since birth, Shelly “Elle” Evans and Lee Flynn have been the best of friends. They spend all their time together, especially after Elle’s mother passed away from an illness. Lee’s older brother Noah always tends to rib on his brother and treat Elle like a little sister. However, deep down, Elle has had a bit of a crush on Noah. The problem is that Lee and Elle made a promise that they would never date a family member. However, things are about to change.

On the first day of school, Elle completely embarrasses herself when she lost her pants. When she is ridiculed, Noah comes to the rescue. Soon enough, Elle finds her crush on Noah intensified. When Noah finally reciprocates his feelings, Elle and Noah decide to keep their relationship low-key as Lee would be devastated. Meanwhile, Lee and Elle are working on a kissing booth for this year’s Homecoming. When Lee discovers the relationship, he is shocked and destroyed until he meets Rachel, a fellow student who soon starts dating him. Will he finally come to terms with the fact that his brother and bestie are a couple?

Based on the novel by Beth Reekles, writer-director Vince Marcello has brought back the teen romantic comedy like never before. The tale of a woman torn between her best friend and his brother just shows the chaos that occurs when trying to balance things out. There are some comical moments in the film but there are also some emotional moments that help make the film even more watchable.

Kind of like a modern day Pretty in Pink if you will, the film’s driving point, or in this case, points, are the core trio of Joey King, Joel Courtney, and Jacob Elordi. King is perfect as Elle, the young woman caught in the middle between promises to her bestie Lee, played with comic relief at times by Courtney; and her massive crush turned relationship on Lee’s brother Noah, played by Elordi. What’s very interesting is that Noah starts out as an overprotective big brother, putting Elle in uncomfortable situations and acting like a big shot because on campus, he is just that, a big man on campus.

If there is one character that is the heart of the film in terms of being the spiritual guide of the film, it’s Molly Ringwald as Lee and Noah’s mother. She treats Elle like a daughter since the passing of her mother, because there is that history between Lee and Elle’s mothers. When it comes to a very pivotal moment in the film where Elle finds herself stuck, Ringwald would be the guiding light she needs. This would be a role she would end up becoming in this and its two sequels.

The Kissing Booth is the boost the teen rom-com needed, thanks to the excellent performances of its three leads. A blending of comedy and drama makes this a well-made film for Netflix.

WFG RATING: A-

Netflix presents a Komixx Entertainment production. Director: Vince Marcello. Producers: Vince Marcello, Michele Weisler, Andrew Cole-Bulgin, and El Glauser. Writer: Vince Marcello; based on the novel by Beth Reekles. Cinematography: Anastas N. Michos. Editing: Paul Millspaugh.

Cast: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi, Molly Ringwald, Stephen Jennings, Carson White, Judd Krok, Joshua Eady, Bianca Bosch, Jessica Sutton, Zandile Madilwa, Waldemar Schultz.

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