Wednesday, Nov 29, 2023 | Last Update : 02:25 PM IST
Film: The Kissing Booth 3 (Playing on Netflix)
Duration: 112 minutes
Director: Vince Marcello
Cast: Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Molly Ringwald, Joel Courtney, Meganne Young, Taylor Zakhar, Maisse Richardson-Selelrs and Frances Sholto-Douglas
By Troy Ribeiro
A teen rom-com, 'The Kissing Booth 3' is supposed to be the epic love story of Elle and Noah. Instead, this third edition is a weird sappy romance about the duo being best friends forever.
For the uninitiated, 'The Kissing Booth' films are based on the books by Beth Reekles. They chronicle Elle's struggle as she tries balancing her life and relationships, especially with her two childhood friends, Lee and Noah.
In this edition, the story picks up at the start of the summer vacation, when after her high school graduation, Elle (Joey King) gets admission into Boston and Berkeley universities. Now, Noah (Jacob Elordi) is headed to Boston and Lee (Joel Courtney) to Berkeley, so for Elle, moving to any one of the two colleges would definitely mean hurting the other friend.
Elle is keen to join the love of her life, Noah. So, to soften the blow to Lee, she decides to spend "the best summer we ever had" with Noah, her bestie Lee and his girlfriend Rachael (Meganne Young) at their beach house, where she spends the days ticking items off an elaborate summer bucket list. The list includes, apart from the usual summer activities, a flash dance in a restaurant and a splash at a Waterpark, where she meets an old friend Marco (Taylor Zakhar).
As the plot progresses, with Noah watching from the sidelines, feeling neglected, he spends time with his old friend Chloe, who is town for a holiday. As Noah evaluates his relationship with Elle, we realise that this convoluted and elaborate narrative ends on a weird note with hearts breaking and mending.
As one character says, "Maybe sometimes loving each other is not enough ... it's about needing love."
Just to reiterate the crux of the original plot, the Kissing Booth, where Noah and Elle's relationship blossomed after their first kiss, is brought to the fore in the final act. This comes after Elle breaks away from her relationships and develops a sense of self, and some career ambitions.
This rom-com heads far from the fairytale ending one expects. It delivers fluff with aplomb and the thin storyline grows tedious by the end, especially with the number of soundtracks that are integrated into the script.
On the performance front, the cast is as natural as one sees them in teen rom-coms. With decent production values, the cinematography imparts an escapist feel to the frames with bright and colourful shots. The last word: 'The Kissing Booth 3' is a shallow addition to the series.
(Troy Ribeiro can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org)