The Kissing Booth 3: Seen one, seen ‘em all

Luke Nassief


*Spoilers for Kissing Booth 1 and 2- not that you should see them anyway!*

The Kissing Booth 3… it’s a movie, that’s for sure! I suppose that’s the highest praise I can give this. It is technically a movie. 

However, and this is a surprise to no one, it fails on practically every level a movie can.

When The Kissing Booth 3 dropped earlier this year, I felt like I needed to see it. It looked so bad that it had to be funny. But of course, there were two movies before this one, so I had to check them out first. 

Yes, I, a 16-year-old boy, willingly sat down alone in my room and watched all three of these movies. Am I ashamed? Well, no. I’m a lover of trash cinema. Sometimes, watching some garbage can be just as fun as watching something great (this is popular with The Bachelor).

However, I am sad to report, none of The Kissing Booth films can offer such pleasure, especially the final installment. The Kissing Booth 3, or KB3 as I like to call it, picks up exactly where KB2 leaves off. Our protagonist, recent high school graduate Elle Evans, rides off into the summer sunset with her boyfriend Noah, trying to decide whether she will attend school with him at Harvard, or at Berkeley with her best friend Lee. 

Meanwhile, Lee has relationship problems with his girlfriend Rachel, Elle has relationship problems with Noah,  everyone has problems with everyone, drama ensues, and we’ve got ourselves a half-baked story a 12-year-old could write better. 

The biggest problem with KB3 is that I’ve seen every part of it before. In fact, I saw it in a little film called The Kissing Booth 2! This movie steals every dramatic beat from that one and executes it even worse. By the end, I couldn’t tell which film was which.

In addition, people our age should be able to have fun and relate to The Kissing Booth films. Elle stresses over applying for colleges, she gets to experience a lot of high school “firsts”, and throughout the trilogy, she has grown up at the same rate many of us have. However, the characters and settings are constructed so poorly and unrealistically that I can’t relate to a single thing.

Lastly, and most importantly, KB3 is an incredibly long film for the genre it exists in. In the nearly two hours it takes you to watch this movie, you could watch a far better high school drama film, like 10 Things I Hate About You or Clueless. KB3 does nothing to justify its absurd runtime, instead electing to bloat its monotonous subplots and dragging scenes out far past their welcome. Instead of laughing and having fun with how bad it was, I was bored and annoyed.

Oftentimes, seeing something spectacularly fail can teach us more than something succeeding. So what can we take away from the six hours I spent watching Kissing Booth films this week? 

Well, for one, don’t be like me. If, for whatever reason you plan on watching these films, do them with your friends and try your best to laugh at them. 

But more importantly, there is value in “trash” cinema, but it only comes when a movie stops taking itself too seriously. What’s so disappointing about this film, and the other two in the trilogy, is that the times it lightens up are few and far between. Sandwiched in the middle is a bunch of melodrama no one cares about. 

If we are to continue consuming trash films, which I highly recommend, filmmakers have to understand what their product is. The Kissing Booth 3 leaves me confused because it seems like the filmmakers were trying to make a great and serious film, but it obviously never was that. A little self-awareness, both in the creative process and in everyone’s daily lives, will certainly go a long way.

So, unfortunate as it is, this will be the legacy of The Kissing Booth Trilogy. For that, and its utter failings as a story, I am forced to give The Kissing Booth 3 one star.