Review by Camden Ferrell
After the release of The Kissing Booth 2 in 2020, it was revealed that it was shot back-to-back with the third film, The Kissing Booth 3, which is why this young adult series is coming to a conclusion so quickly. It is based on the series of books by Beth Reekles and Vince Marcello has once again returned to direct. While it will please the fans of the first two movies, this is a movie that is as unpleasant as its predecessors and features weak performances, cringe-inducing writing, and a tepid conclusion for these characters.
When we left off, Elle was in a dilemma. She had been accepted to two schools, one her best friend would be attending and one where her boyfriend was currently enrolled. Putting off this decision, she decides to try and pull of the most memorable summer ever, but as expected, drama unfolds with her relationships. This is a simple premise, but it is the first movie in the series to take place during the summer, so it thankfully avoids the high school plot that has already been done twice before.
Written by Marcello and Jay S. Arnold, this script is no better or worse than the ones that came before it. The dialogue is unnatural, and the plot is progressed in a manner that is forced and unceremonious. The interactions between the characters are stiff and some are incredibly awkward and unintentionally uncomfortable to watch play out. This isn’t a surprise, and it’s mostly on par with the previous films. It’s not as openly sexist and misogynistic as the first, but less is happening in its story than the second.
All of the main cast returns for this movie. Joey King once again leads the film as Elle, Jacob Elordi returns as Noah, and Joel Courtney plays Lee. The quality of their performances is consistent with the other movies, so even though it jumps between lifeless and painfully melodramatic, it’s not unexpected. There are times where they seem exhausted with the movie, but there are a handful of moments where the actors look like they’re having genuine fun despite the weak material they’re working with.
Aside from the writing problems, the scenes are executed in such an off-putting manner. It has strange camera angles, laughably bad visual effects, befuddling editing, and it all feels sloppily constructed. The movie also doesn’t have the substance to forgive these mistakes. The actions of the characters are confusing and unmotivated, and the movie sporadically opens new plot lines that contribute significantly to its nearly two-hour runtime. It’s something that will not win over any new fans.
The Kissing Booth 3 is an unpleasant watch, but it’s something that is expected from the series’ track record. Worth watching only for the sake of completionism and for fans of the series. It repeats the myriad of shortcomings of its predecessor and marks the end of a series that shouldn’t have been made.
The Kissing Booth 3 is streaming on Netflix August 11.