The Kissing Booth 2 (USA, 2020)

A year after her romance begins, Elle Evans soon discovers that relationships can have its ups and downs in this sequel to the 2018 hit.

Elle Evans is happy as her relationship with Noah Flynn has gone public and she is about to begin her senior year of high school. The relationship between Elle and her best friend Lee, Noah’s brother, has finally mended and even Lee has found happiness with girlfriend Rachel. As senior year begins, Elle does find herself giving Noah, a Harvard freshman, his space. She doesn’t want to feel she is smothering him. However, this idea soon begins to complicate matters for a variety of reasons.

Elle soon becomes the third wheel in Lee and Rachel’s relationship, making Rachel extremely uncomfortable. To make matters worse, a new student at school, Marco, has gotten Elle’s attention. When Elle heads to Boston to visit Noah and go for college interviews, she is shocked to learn that he has a new friend, Chloe. Jealous of their friendship, Elle leaves upset and when Lee is confronted by Rachel about Elle, he fakes an injury for a dance competition and Elle finds a replacement in Marco. Soon enough, Elle finds herself in another predicament that she may not be able to escape.

This sequel to the original film also stands as the longest-running installment of the franchise, at a whopping 132 minutes compared to the original 106-minute running time of the original. It is with good reason. The film tackles the complications of both a long-distance relationship but what happens when you attempt to keep your friendship intact when you bestie is in a relationship themselves.

Once again, the trio of Joey King, Joel Courtney, and Jacob Elordi become the driving forces of the film. This time, we see everyone virtually in happy mode at first with Elle happily in a relationship with Noah despite him being in Boston at Harvard. He worries at times she is not committing but only because she feels she needs to let him adjust to life on the East Coast. Meanwhile, she does unwittingly complicate things with Lee because her constant being with him affects his relationship with his girlfriend Rachel, played by Meganne Young.

The complications come in the form of not only Elle’s “third wheel” act, but two new characters who are introduced. The first is Taylor Zakhar Perez’s hunky Marco, who gets Elle’s attention and potentially tells her to let her mind free when he notices of her situations with Noah and Lee as they prepare for a dance competition. The other is Maisie Richardson-Seller’s Chloe, who is Noah’s strictly platonic female friend at Harvard. There are signs at first that there may be something between Noah and Chloe, but as the film progresses their relationship is proven to be nothing more than friends despite Elle’s jealousy.

As with the original, leave it up to Molly Ringwald to return as the saving grace Elle desperately needs when everything goes down on Thanksgiving. Once again, her mother figure Mrs. Flynn is there to help Elle see everything and help her make the wrong things right. However, unlike the original, this one ends on a shocking cliffhanger as it involves Elle forced to make one of the biggest decisions of her life, which leads to the final installment of the franchise.

The Kissing Booth 2’s topic of relationships and its complications justify this longest running time of the franchise with Joey King, Joel Courtney, and Jacob Elordi once again shining as the core trio in the most complicated friendship and relationship.

WFG RATING: A

Netflix presents a Komixx Entertainment production in association with Picture Loom and Clearback Films. Director: Vince Marcello. Producers: Andrew Cole-Bulgin, Ed Glauser, Vince Marcello, and Michelle Weisler. Writers: Vince Marcello and Jay S. Arnold; based on the novel by Beth Reekles. Cinematography: Anastos N. Michos. Editing: Paul Millspaugh.

Cast: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi, Molly Ringwald, Taylor Zakhar Perez, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Meganne Young, Stephen Jennings, Carson White, Bianca Bosch, Camilla Wolfson, Zandile Madilwa, Judd Krok, Evan Hengst.

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