By Suradha Iyer
If youíre a teen (or, like me, havenít grown out of teenage flicks like Mean Girls), you might have considered watching The Kissing Booth, a Netflix-produced Ďmoderní teenage summer flick. Be warned, the film does no justice to teenage or summer flicks, and is irresponsibly bad (Iíll qualify it as a worse story than Twilight).
The Kissing Booth is a trope with a 12-year-oldís narration and a perverted, insensitive and unexplainable script. Elle Evans (Joey King) falls for her best friend Lee’s (Joel Courtney) brother Noah (Jacob Elordi), whoís very hot and famously polygamous. But she makes him a devoted boyfriend, they have a tiff, and then they make up as he leaves for college. Simple, uncomplicated story, am I right?
Except, they go out of their way to reinforce that the price for high school popularity is teenage drinking, that the average teenager strips in front of crowds to make a petty point (several times) and thus gain popularity points, that the hot boyfriend’s serious anger and jealousy issues can be excused (after all, he is a brooding young man), that a ‘best friend’ can be incredibly shallow when their ‘best friend’ is dating, that kissing booths are Ďcommunity buildingí and Ďmean(s) something to the high schoolí (which I can only take to mean that public spectacles of paid for, blindfolded kisses with high school celebrities are what brings high schools together), and the notion that Elle had zero qualms about consenting to her savior figure (because heís her saviour, duh). Thereís more unbelievable trite going on the film, but I hope youíre already put off?
It also fails my basic, unbiased qualifier for a watchable movieóneither King, Courtney nor Elordi look right for their roles. Itís one of the movie’s minor failures, however. King looks far too young for her oversexed character, while Elordi looks unbelievably unlike any teenager Iíve encountered. Maybe in LA all teenagers look like older, chiseled lifeguards. Who am I to judge?
I watched The Kissing Booth (and almost didnít finish it several times over), so you donít have to. Youíre welcome! I had to cleanse my palate with some of the better class of teenage flicks you might want to consider instead of this one.
10 Things I Hate About You
The Kissing Booth borrows heavily from this classic. Thereís so much right about this teenage flick, from a troubled Heath Ledger to sweet sisterhood, you really should watch this instead. The film is also a modern interpretation to Shakespeareís Taming of the Shrew and you can spot familiar characters despite all the cheesiness they sit within.
This is an easy favourite to match the modern tone of The Kissing Booth, and another twist on a classic book, The Scarlet Letter. The movie features an endearing Emma Stone and Penn Badgley, and a familiar high school setting, and reflects on how fickle and mercurial getting popular can be.
Well written, very teenage angst-y, and touching all at once. Canít recommend it enough in the genre.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower
If this hasnít crossed your path, you need to re-evaluate your teenage years. Itís the story of warm, uncommon friendships, and a study of the spectrum of teenage experience.
A timeless staple for whenever youíre in the mood of mindless, quick-paced teenage drama to forget your very real problems.
Itís a formulaic romp through this genre with a gay hero. Its not perfect but it is mature with itís treatment of the queer characters, and is funny and endearing as well.
Also familiar favourites are Starstruck, Dead Poetís Society, The Fault In Our Stars, The DUFF, The Breakfast Club, The Spectacular Now and Juno, for whenever youíre tempted to check back into high school mode. Thereís something so tender and naive about the age that no themes are too small, and when film can handle them with care and respect, itís a small consolation for teens everywhere.
Suradha Iyer is a writing analyst at Qrius
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