A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Kissing Booth 2 is the sequel to The Kissing Booth, Netflix's super-popular movie based on the ebook by Beth Reekles. The story picks up just after the original movie ended, with main character Elle (Joey King) starting her senior year at an upscale private high school while her boyfriend goes off to college. This film is tamer than the original, with less underage drinking/drunkenness, undressing, and anger-management issues -- and more dancing. But the clichéd, teasing rich kids in the background have been joined by a stereotypically portrayed gay teen who's on the verge of acknowledging his sexual orientation. Underage drinking (beer, shots, fake IDs) is tacitly approved, and sex is shown as a requisite part of teens falling in love. Dreamy, romantic montages show kissing and passionate foreplay, but there's no nudity or explicit sexual activity. Expect to hear words like "s--t," "damn," "ass," "crap," and one use of "c--k." Characters lie, and Elle, who narrates her emotional journey, has trouble asserting her independence and making choices separate from the males in her life.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE KISSING BOOTH 2, Elle (Joey King) and Noah (Jacob Elordi) spend an idyllic summer before Noah settles at Harvard and Elle enters her senior year in her Los Angeles high school. Struggling to adjust to life without Noah, Elle hangs out pretty much full-time with her lifelong best friend, Lee (Joel Courtney), and his girlfriend, Rachel (Meganne Young). A highly anticipated weekend trip to see Noah in Boston delights Elle, but she feels slightly insecure when she meets the beautiful Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), one of Noah's closest new friends. Back at home, Elle's misgivings grow, until she has convinced herself that Chloe is a threat. And, unbeknownst to Elle, Rachel wants more time alone with Lee. Into the tension-filled situation comes Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez), a handsome new senior at the school who just happens to be a great dancer and is willing to partner with Elle for a video game dance contest. "Dance, Dance, Mania" is offering a $50,000 prize to the winners, and Elle could really use the funds for college. Will Marco become more than a dance partner and a means to a big prize?
Is it any good?
Joey King is the best thing about this cheesy teen romance that has a number of weak performances (male and female) and simplistic outcomes. The Kissing Booth 2 appears to be intended for young audiences who as kids loved fairy tales and princesses. The Handsome Prince -- in this case, handsome "jock" with anger-management issues -- has already swept the worthy but confidence-challenged girl off her feet in The Kissing Booth. But will they end up happily ever after? Watch this sequel and the clearly hinted at next one to find out. Annoyingly, many of the most highly charged emotional moments take place in public spaces with big audiences to cheer and humiliate the heroes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Kissing Booth 2 portrays teen drinking and using a fake ID. Does the movie make casual drinking by underage kids look cool? Are there any realistic consequences? Why is it a good idea for families with older kids and teens to discuss drinking and substance abuse in movies?
If you were a fan of The Kissing Booth, did this sequel live up to your expectations? What surprised you about it? Think about the final shot in the movie showing the two university letters. How does that indicate that there will be a Kissing Booth 3? Will you look forward to it? For what reason(s) do companies decide to make a sequel or sequels?
What is the meaning of the film term "montage"? How do the filmmakers use montage in numerous instances to move along both the plot and the emotional content of the movie? How does it help to build insights into the characters and their journey?
A few of the main characters either lie or avoid telling the truth. How did dishonesty ultimately undermine their goals?
In the film Elle is asked, "Are you going to change your plans for him?" Women and girls have been asked that same thing over many generations. How did this movie answer the question? How would you respond?
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