Netflix is no longer just a streaming service. Recently, the company has made more original films and series, which have done quite well. Of course, there are diamonds such as Stranger Things. However, we cannot forget the misery that was Bright. In any case, Netflix has changed the way we watch films. There is no need to go to the cinema to watch a new release. Famous actors often star in these Netflix productions as well. As it was the end of the year, I decided to watch a film with my pupils. They decided that they wanted to watch The Kissing Booth, another Netflix production. Throughout the film, the girls (and some of the boys) were mesmerized by the story. I decided to check Rotten Tomatoes to see what the film’s score was. It scored a sad 14%. What is interesting is that the audience scored it at 70%. Why the huge difference?
What is it about?
Rotten Tomatoes says the following:
When Elle Evans (Joey King), a pretty, late-bloomer who’s never-been-kissed, decides to run a kissing booth at her high school’s Spring Carnival, she unexpectedly finds herself locking lips with her secret crush- the ultimate bad boy, Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi). Sparks fly, but there’s one little problem: Noah just happens to be the brother of her best friend, Lee, (Joel Courtney) and is absolutely off limits according to the rules of their friendship pact. Elle’s life is turned upside down when she realizes that she must ultimately make a choice: follow the rules or follow her heart. Based on Beth Reekle’s self-published coming-of-age novel that became an international sensation, THE KISSING BOOTH is a Netflix Film, written and directed by Vince Marcello
The Kissing Booth is in every way your stereotypical teenage romcom. There is nothing surprising or original about it. It won’t go down in history the way Clueless or Mean Girls has. The only thing the film has going for it is that it is slightly more raunchy. There is swearing and even sex, although not explicit.
Why is it so popular?
There is nothing original about The Kissing Booth. Its plot is as predictable as they come and there is no clever humor which made Clueless and Mean Girls classics. The leads are okay but they do not have the charm to really draw you in. Still, the film resonates with teenagers. That is probably where all the critics go wrong. You see, as adults we look at different things than teenagers do. We look at a film and think about whether or not it works cinematically or if the plot is good and exciting. While some teenagers might look at the same thing, in general they are interested in different topics. Girls especially are looking for romance.
They don’t need a complicated storyline. They just need a girl they can identify with and a hot guy who falls in love with her. Add in the “all odds are against them” factor and you almost certainly have a sure-fire winner. It’s what made Twilight work and it is what will keep on working as long as there are girls who are just experiencing romantic feelings. Whenever I cringed at dialogue, the girls in my class would collectively sigh. Of course there was a heavy debate on whether or not the guy (and girl) were hot enough, but the story appeared to mesmerize them. Some had even seen it so often that they could quote entire parts of the film.
Why we shouldn’t be too harsh
It made me realise that a critic score is not everything, because some films are just made for a very specific audience. While I do hope that film-makers do continue to strive for quality, I also think we should let girls have films like these without condemning their tastes. Especially when these films are readily available to stream on services such as Netflix. I mean, the only thing lost is two hours of your life. At first I strongly disliked The Kissing Booth, but the moment I looked at it in the way these kids looked at it, I found it was quite enjoyable. Brainless entertainment, so to speak. Besides, who doesn’t dream about being whisked away by a handsome person after overcoming obstacles? We might make fun of teenage girls for wanting these things. But in the end, isn’t that because we’re being told we can’t like those stories?
Yes, The Kissing Booth might not be a film for those picky in their cinematic choices. I guess if you enjoyed Twilight, this might be a film you’d like too, despite there not being any supernatural romance. The Kissing Booth is exactly what it sets out to be. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s entertaining enough if you don’t know what to watch.