Full disclosure, my inner teen squealed with delight when The Kissing Booth got released. My mind wondered back to the likes of 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, She's All That and Never Been Kissed basically any naff teen romance movie made in the 90's and I really hoped this would be just as good, purely from a reviewers point of view of course (ahem).
Thankfully it is! Despite the fact that this movie is clearly not pitched at me or my fellow 30-something's, it is a hark back to teen movies where boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl doesn't know said boy loves said girl and all the complicated teenage emotional angst that is necessary to fill an hour and forty five minutes of your time. It is a Netflix Original, based on the novel of the same name by Beth Reekles and it has gone down an absolute storm largely due to all the reasons I just mentioned. It has also made social media superstars out of the cast – Joey King and Jacob Elordi!
For those of you who have no clue what a ‘Kissing Booth' is, turns out it's a wildly popular fundraising/carnival event where hopefully an outrageously good looking person sits in a booth and people pay to kiss them. It's pretty much what it says on the tin and no prizes for guessing that it also plays a major part in the film. It starts with Elle and her best friend Lee, who were born on the same day, and who are now turning 16 and heading into their junior year of high school. As besties they have strict rules that govern their friendship, one of which is ‘older brother is off limits'. This only becomes a problem when Elle and the older brother, Noah, realise they have feelings for each other which becomes obvious at, you guessed it, the kissing booth!
But the road to true happiness never runs smooth and soon our two love birds find themselves keeping a big secret which threatens to ruin relationships with both family and friends. I'll forgive you if you think this is a just another piece of cinematic fluff and in some small way it is but the plot does mature enough so you don't overdose on saccharine. It definitely has an audience and is usually the case, critics panned it (one star on Rotten Tomatoes) but viewers loved it (73% positive rating). Surprisingly there was a fair bit of more adult themes such as drinking, sex and strong language so definitely not one for younger viewers, even it's 12 rating is a bit lenient. You'll either love it or hate it….