The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (8)
| Top Critics (1)
| Fresh (1)
| Rotten (7)
In another film, the sentiment would be a romantic one. In The Kissing Booth, it feels like a cage.
Largely for its pre-teen audience as its flaws will likely stand out like an unwanted cold sore on prom night for those outside of its target demographic.
I can confirm that it's not a good film. In fact, its themes are at times unsettling.
Allusions to The Breakfast Club in the soundtrack and the casting of Molly Ringwald certainly don't help The Kissing Booth look anything other than lazy and amateur next to other teen classics.
Quirky romcom has strong language, teen drinking, sex.
Tone-shifting "cute" teen rom-com that becomes less young teen suitable and more clumsy and ham-handed, the longer it runs.
[The Kissing Booth's] troubling treatment of the female body and unrealistic representation of high school hinders its ability to accomplish anything meaningful.
The Kissing Booth is not a good movie. It is a good, drunk, mindless, late night rom-com watch, but it is not a good movie. For that, we say skip it.
Every year, I have to wade through a sea of total cinematic mediocrity in hopes that I'll be in on the ground floor of another Showgirls or The Room. To witness a film of exquisite fecal fecundity is one of those rare gifts of existence, and it warms the soul with a glowing joy from an alternate dimension when chance intersects my eyes and ears with some remote magical turd. This is more often than not a painful experience like in the case of Birdemic: Shock and Terror, so I'm lucky when I get to have a nice ab workout from spit takes and guffaws instead of the customary pain of a filmic failure. That being said, The Kissing Booth is one of the most enjoyable bad movies I've seen in years.
For the first hour of this thing, I couldn't stop laughing. It's an unintentional parody of every high school coming-of-age rom-com. It's like if High School Musical (without the music) and Twilight (without the Monster Mash) and Mean Girls (without a good screenplay) had a trope baby midwifed by John Hughes (Post-Baby's Day Out). Joey King plays a girl who's attracted to her best friend's brother. There is all of the drama. You can guess how everything plays out, which makes for a particularly difficult final forty minutes of drawn out apologies and tearful moments of "I love you, but I love him" babble.
However, believe me when I say that that first hour is just brimming with silliness. Most modern comedies struggle to match this level of hilarity over the course of a feature length film, and it's lucky if anything past the first act garners even a chuckle. Somehow, this aloof disaster manages to provoke a resonant frequency of laughter with its bad editing, tonal bipolarity, hackneyed cheese, and inherent youthful exuberance. Yeah it's bad, but it's incredulously fun.
Just when you think it's going to fall into a lull, there's the girl with headgear. Nearly every male character is a leering moron, and there's one particular night time scene on a motorcycle that had me in stitches from Jacob Elordi's bad acting and the obvious sound stage. Nearly every effect shot is a treasure trove of earnest failure, more consistent with Disney Channel programming than a large budget release, but we are talking about a Netflix original movie here. That's a crap shoot in any case. Move over The Book of Henry, you ain't got nothing on The Kissing Booth.
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