The Kissing Booth 2 Parent Guide
This is a movie without an audience: it's too dumb for older viewers and has too much sexual content for the younger ones it's aimed at.
Parent Movie Review
Netflix’s 2018 hit romantic film The Kissing Booth introduced viewers to Rochelle “Elle” Evans (Joey King), her best friend, Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney), and his hunky older brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi). After the usual mix-ups and miscommunications, Elle and Noah fell in love and into bed. Sadly, the course of true love never runs smooth and the young lovers are tragically torn from each other and their summer beach idyll by the unwelcome beginning of the academic year. Noah heads across the country to Harvard, and Elle remains in Southern California to complete her senior year and pine for Noah.
The Kissing Booth 2 holds no surprises for viewers who watched the original and those, like me, who didn’t. This is fill-in-the-blank romantic sequel, which revolves around romantic triangles – one real; one not. After seeing Noah hang out with a stunningly beautiful woman (Chloe, played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers), Elle becomes jealous and is convinced that Noah is falling in love with Chloe. In the meantime, Elle has had a “meet-awkward” with a new student, Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and winds up spending time with him as they compete in a video game dance competition. Temperatures rise, sparks fly, and soon Elle is forced to decide what and who she really wants.
From a parent’s perspective, the only bright spot of this decidedly sophomoric film is that Elle spends a fair bit of time thinking about the future as she applies to different universities. The downside is that her conclusions are entirely based on her relationships to others; no assessment of her own strengths, talents, goals, or achievements. But this is a minor problem compared to the negative content in the movie. It’s very clear throughout the film that Elle and Noah have a sexual relationship: they are shown in bed together on a couple of occasions, Noah undresses her after a date (no nudity is shown) and is shown on top of her in bed, and Elle tells Noah that she’s going to use him as her “own personal jungle gym”. There is no discussion of contraception or any indication that it’s being used. The movie also has a fixation with beefcake. Both Noah and Marco are devastatingly handsome with perfect hair and teeth, chiseled jaws, and shredded abs – which we see as often as director Vince Marcello can squeeze them into the story. Parents should also note a minor subplot including a gay character coming out of the closet – which will be seen as either a plus or minus depending on your attitudes towards homosexuality. Add in a quick scene of underage drinking and a fair bit of swearing, and the film’s negatives start adding up.
Many viewers will tell me that I am being too hard on this inane little drama. Were this a romantic movie starring adults and geared towards adults, I would agree. For a mainstream love story, these content issues are pretty close to the norm. But The Kissing Booth 2 is not aimed at adults or even older teens. Its plot is too dumb to hold the attention of adults and the dialogue is so dreadfully unrealistic that older teens will snort with laughter as they listen. The market for this movie is young teens, somewhere around the 11 to 14 age group (which explains why this movie feels like an extended episode of a Disney channel TV show from the late 1990s). These kids are old enough to be enraptured by the handsome leading men but young enough to think the movie accurately represents romantic relationships. And that’s a bigger problem than the disappointment they are going to feel when they arrive at high school and discover that none of the guys look like Noah or Marco.Directed by Vince Marcello. Starring Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Molly Ringwald. Running time: 130 minutes. Theatrical release July 24, 2020. Updated July 25, 2020
Watch the trailer for The Kissing Booth 2
The Kissing Booth 2
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Kissing Booth 2 rated TV-14? The Kissing Booth 2 is rated TV-14 by the MPAA
Violence: None noted.
Sexual Content: A teenage couple are shown in bed on a couple of occasions: the first is post-coital, on the second, the male character undresses the woman down to her underwear and is shown lying on top of her between her bent legs. A teenage girl mentions taking a “naughty photo” for her boyfriend. Teenage couples embrace and kiss frequently. Major male characters are frequently shown shirtless. A woman describes the appeal of a man’s body in exhaustive detail. A gay character comes out of the closet and kisses another male student.
Profanity: There are at least 28 profanities, including ten terms of deity, nine scatological curses, and a variety of anatomical terms, crude expressions, and mild swear words.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A man hands a beer to a young woman who is probably underage. Adults drink wine with a meal.
Page last updated July 25, 2020
The Kissing Booth 2 Parents' Guide
Which university do you think Elle should pick? Why? How are you figuring out what you want to do in the future? What priorities direct your decisions?
Related home video titles:
Also by Netflix, The Half of Itfeatures an unusual romantic triangle and more interesting characters.
For a lighthearted romantic movie about a teen who’s trying to chart his own future, try Blinded by the Light.
In A Walk to Remember, the school bad boy is thrown together with a church girl when he’s forced to participate in the school play. He soon falls for her but she’s got a secret that could end everything.
The Princess Diariesexplores high school, friendship, and navigating significant change.
For a musical take on the drama kids in secondary school, you can watch High School Musical.