...the third one in, loses steam
THE KISSING BOOTH 3 (2021)
The Kissing Booth is one of those films that you hear about online and quickly manages to initiate a huge conversation between the masses about whether or not it is actually any good. The answer is truly up to the viewer, but it was successful enough to obtain a trio of films. I can safely say that from this critic’s point of view, this trilogy is a major let down.
Director Vince Marcello returns to conclude the trilogy he started a mere three years back with an undeniable whimper. Netflix just can’t seem to find the right way to end a trilogy it seems. Filmed back to back with its predecessor, The Kissing Booth 3 is lacking the wacky love triangle, dance-dance arcade competition that the sequel brought to the audience with a seriousness that surprisingly worked. I wanted this to be crazy, to be instantly outdated like the last two, but this one might have gone a little minimal on the crazy and a little too much on the instantly outdated category.
I was generally worried that this would be just a replay of one of the previous two films, but luckily I was proven wrong. Yes there were still the same recognizable notes throughout, but instead of having a love triangle like before, this time Elle knows what she wants yet can’t seem to be able to keep it. Finally having to offer up her decision on where she’s going to school, you’d think that most of the film’s conflict would come from this decision; however, that string is pulled far too early and the rest of the film is just Elle and Lee doing montage after montage of their bucket list they made when they were little before the beach house they both particularly grew up in is sold and torn down to make way for condominiums. There’s also some obnoxious conflict with Elle, Noah, and Marco that could have completely been erased from the film entirely. Overall I wanted more from this soap opera love story that just doesn’t know when to say enough is enough.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Elle is back, and she’s just as unlikable as ever. Joey King remains the woman that should not be at the top of anyone’s lead actress casting lists as she fails to deliver anything of substance with her soap opera level performance. She’s not alone however as Jacob Elordi (who already regrets taking this role) and Joel Courtney deliver performances that deserve to be in the running for the 2021 overacting award. They’re not giving performances different from what they gave previously, but something feels off in comparison. The story isn’t offering us anything new but instead recycling, closing out the trilogy with a predictable romp that closes on a tired note.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Visually it seems The Kissing Booth 3 was filmed on location, as nothing feels overtly green screen. However, the (supposedly) real locations make the scenarios taking place seem even more inauthentic, especially with the actors' weak performances.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Composer Patrick Kirst returns for the third The Kissing Booth and offers a similar experience to what he’s previously delivered. It’s just as cheesy and lighthearted; The Kissing Booth 3 isn’t flawed due to its score. The soundtrack however is where the film fails in its musical decisions - nothing clicks as it’s supposed to, and it winds up being a cringeworthy experience just in the songs they’ve decided to include.
My expectations for The Kissing Booth 3 were moderate at best, but I was just looking for a good time that could be determined as a “so bad, it’s good” film. But alas, this third film loses steam and goes from being self aware in the previous entry to going back to how it acted in the first. For completionists out there I say go ahead and finish this trilogy, but for those happy with where the first or second left off, this nearly two hour feature might not be worth the energy used to press play.