In 'The Kissing Booth 3', Elle (Joey King), her best friend Lee (Joel Courtney), her boyfriend and Lee’s brother Noah (Jacob Elordi), and Lee’s girlfriend Rachel (Meganne Young) are all set to spend one last summer together at the beach house before they head off to college. Elle is torn between going to UC Berkeley with Lee or moving across the country to Harvard to be with Noah. What follows is a summer of fun and frolicking, as well as growing pains and difficult decisions…
‘The Kissing Booth 3’ is a slight improvement on the second installment of the series. But overall, this has been a pretty woeful trilogy, characterised by far too many montages (in this one we get one opening the movie, soon followed by a “decluttering the beach house while messing around and playing games” collage…), and horrible characters.
Having acted like a teenage Christian Grey in previous movies with his creepy jealousy and possessiveness, Noah actually acts the most reasonable this time round, having every reason to be annoyed that Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez) is hanging around again, having previously kissed his girlfriend in front of him in the last movie, and making no subtleties of making a move on Elle again.
Elle, for her part, has a bunch of spills and pratfalls to make her seem dorky, cute and relatable. As forced as that is, it’s not as irritating as her lack of maturity and reason, even as she is on the cusp of adulthood. What’s the problem with her friend having another friend? Why can’t they all go to the water park together? Surely, the more the merrier… And what’s wrong with her dad seeing someone? She throws a tantrum over a Monopoly game, and it’s all just very embarrassing.
But then maybe the reason for Elle’s insecurities is because of the way Noah has treated her in the past, and her lifelong and best friend, Lee, is the worst of all. He’s constantly moaning and manipulating Elle, and guilt tripping her when she can’t or doesn’t want to do something with him. The only reason kids should be watching this movie is to get an education in recognising the signs of toxic behaviour, to learn you’d be so much happier removing such individuals from your life.
One supposes that the reason why young viewers enjoy these movies is they’re trying so hard to be fun and to inject audience members with that feeling too. But their complete lack of realism and prominence of youthful privilege is annoying, if not downright infuriating.
One wishes the only Noah Elle had in her life is the one from ‘The Notebook’ to yell at her “What do you want?!” because she’s so hell bent on people pleasing that she never takes care of her own desires and needs. Where is modern day womanhood, one implores? Why should a young woman’s life – for three movies – revolve around giving two young men what they want??
A lot of cringey dialogue, four scenes in a row of crying, and some advice from the flawless Molly Ringwald later, and we finally crawl towards the finish line and a predictable, barely satisfying conclusion. Just in case you haven’t gotten enough montages across the series, you get one last one – a blooper reel- at the end. Yay…