‘The Kissing Booth’ is a poorly made movie, but it’s worth seeing

September 28, 2022 — by Emma Fung
Photo by Leyna Chan
Elle and Noah look at each other in anticipation as the crowd chants for them to kiss.
Sometimes bad movies can be good. Hear me out.

Editor’s note: Spoilers ahead.

“The Kissing Booth” came out in 2018 and was directed by Vince Marcello. I’m guessing you’ve heard of the movie at least once. It’s notorious for its bad acting, absurd plot and overall cringiness.

In case you’ve miraculously never watched it, here’s a rundown: A girl named Elle (played by Joey King) has a best friend named Lee (played by Joel Courtney), and they’ve been best friends since they were little kids. They have a list of rules — the most important one being to never date your best friend’s relatives. Unfortunately, as it turns out, Elle develops a crush on Lee’s older brother Noah, who (surprise, surprise) likes her back, so the two need to make sure they don’t get caught. 

It’s not a bad premise, other than the titular kissing booth, where Noah kisses a blindfolded Elle for a school fundraiser. Following their romantic encounter, the pair develop a deep love for one another. 

Already, this plot raises the first question: What kind of high school would allow kids to swap spit as a fundraiser? Isn’t there some sort of hygiene code forbidding this sort of thing? I guarantee you: There is absolutely no way that this would get approved by a school in real life.

Setting the unrealistic situation aside, there are tons of other things about this movie that just make you pause and go “What. Is. Happening.” 

For instance, Elle should get the award for being the most moody character to ever grace a movie screen. You can’t just go and kiss a guy and then yell at him that it’s never going to work out. 

She also mentions at the end of the movie that she realized she didn’t need Noah to be happy, but then she yells at Lee that if he can’t accept her being with Noah, then they shouldn’t be friends anymore. Her indecisiveness really ruins her likeability, as you spend the whole movie wondering what she even wants and why she can’t just make up her mind.

Still, Elle is not the only unlikeable character in this movie. You’ve also got Noah, the typical popular bad boy who plays with girls and can never stay in a relationship, but somehow decides that he is so in love with Elle that he threatens any guys who try to ask her out. Not only is he toxic and possessive, but he also resorts to unnecessary violence all the time. He’s a walking red flag, so it’s pretty easy to see why few people want them to be together.

There are other bad things about this movie: the cheesy dialogue, the excessive number of make-out scenes (I know it’s called “The Kissing Booth,” but still) and a lot more. But despite all these horrible, cringeworthy qualities, this movie is definitely a good watch if you’re looking for something fun and fresh. It has a lot of comedic elements that you can enjoy, if you can ignore all the movie’s flaws.

The comedy isn’t all that makes the movie entertaining. Normally, in romance movies, the guy and girl best friends usually end up falling for each other. That’s not the case in this movie, though, and Elle and Lee have a really nice friendship that you want to stay solid. Things could have gotten really messy if the writers decided to add that Lee also had a crush on Elle, so thankfully they didn’t. 

The romance is also pretty sweet, because even though Elle and Noah are two pretty annoying characters, they do care for each other a lot, which will make you either swoon or close your eyes and groan.

Another nice thing to see is Noah’s character development. He didn’t necessarily start off as a bad character, but he gradually realizes that he likes Elle and still wants to be with her despite the consequences. He changed a lot for her, making him more likable and easier to root for at the end of the movie. 

“The Kissing Booth” isn’t exactly a five-star movie that I would recommend, but it is a decent watch if you’re looking for something foolish and relatively funny. It might make you laugh, it might make you cry, but it’s guaranteed to make you cringe.

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