The Kissing Booth 3 Review: Barring Joey King, we're glad to kiss this franchise goodbye

Updated on Aug 20, 2021 05:10 PM IST  |  262.4K
The Kissing Booth 3 released today, i.e. August 11
Joey King, Joel Courtney and Jacob Elordi reprise their roles as Elle, Lee and Noah in The Kissing Booth 3.

The Kissing Booth 3

The Kissing Booth 3 Cast: Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi

The Kissing Booth 2 Director: Vince Marcello

Streaming Platform: Netflix

The Kissing Booth 2 Stars: 2.5/5


Endings are always bittersweet... well mostly, at least, but not in the case of The Kissing Booth! The franchise, which shocked everyone with its massive success, attempted to cook up one last hurrah with The Kissing Booth 3 but took the 'too many cooks spoil the broth' approach. What should have been a befitting conclusion to its crackling leading lady, Elle (Joey King), ends up being an overcomplicated mess, instead.

The Kissing Booth 3, quite literally, kicks off where the second chapter, which dare I say was more evolved and mature than the original and sadly successor, left us hanging. Elle is at her 'road not taken' crossroads, where on one hand, she lives her and mostly her best friend Lee's (Joel Courtney) childhood dream of going to Berkeley while on the other hand, she can whisk off to Harvard and be with her boyfriend and Lee's older brother Noah (Jacob Elordi). While trying to wrap my head around how easy it is to get into college, this chill trio, along with Lee's girlfriend Rachel (Meganne Young) enjoy their last summer together before reality kicks in.


After the trademark montage of their road trip, as South Africa turns into Los Angeles with icky green screen graphics to distract, Elle and Lee decide to complete their childhood beach themed bucket list. This is while they're spending the summer with their respective partners in the soon to be sold family beach house, living together unsupervised, something which would be every Indian parents' worse nightmare come true. But between the possible separation anxiety, dealing with their own individual relationships, there is also family drama - Elle's dad Mike (Stephen Jennings) starts dating Linda (Bianca Amato) while Lee and Noah's parents Sara and Mr. Flynn decide to sell their extravagant beach house, where the trio's childhood dreams are stored securely.

If you thought the plot couldn't get more crowded, Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), who many The Kissing Booth fans agree were the better choices for Elle and Noah, pop in to add unguaranteed drama into the lead couple's life. What's truly heartbreaking is how the shoddy plot, which desperately tries to be preachy, ruins Joey's earnest attempt at giving us a relatable teenage character, who is as flawed as she is effervescent.


No matter how Joey flaunts her genuinely subtlety in the over-the-top personality of Elle, and we truly want to root for the enthusiastic character, she's limited in the shadows of the Lee vs. Noah drama. Just when you think, we're getting somewhere with Elle, emotionally, we're given filter sequences like a bizarre Mario Kart race! Moreover, little regard was bestowed upon what truly made The Kissing Booth franchise a unique concept; Elle and Lee's wonderfully crafted "platonic" friendship. It was refreshing to watch that Elle and Lee subvert and never have feelings for each other and that they were just close pals, unlike the millionth and one 'a girl and a guy can never be best friends' trope. With Joey and Joel offering us the best chemistry in the franchise on a silver platter, Elle and Lee wasn't given the ending they were worthy of. Adding the nostalgia factor didn't help like the makers may have thought it would. Joel's Lee was reduced to a crying mess while his relationship with Rachel (Meganne was given limited screen space) went on a highway to nowhere. P.S. A huge fan of the Walk The Moon' Shut Up and Dance flashmob!

With every passing instalment, you see just how done Jacob is with The Kissing Booth franchise as a whole. In the third part, the Aussie actor's most energetic moment comes during the bloopers. Somehow, Joey and Jacob are able to showcase the once burning but now severely dwindling passion between Elle and Noah to perfection, which is quite sad if you're a fan of the ship like me. The toxicity surrounding them in the third part, not a fan! As the scene stealers in the second instalment, Taylor and Chloe are wasted space, no matter how much effort they try to make you feel their place in the grand scheme of things. Atleast, they look spectacular! In fact, it's the ever-charming Molly who comes in like a breath of fresh air and steals the show in a heartwarming sequence between her and Elle.

ALSO READ: The Kissing Booth 2 Review: Joey King & Jacob Elordi's rom com is what To All The Boys 2 should have been

The Kissing Booth 3's cluttered screenplay, with zero humour, by Vince Marcello, who is also the director, and Jay Arnold, is a massive disappointment because they truly had so much to play with - including a good-looking, talented ensemble of actors - but instead, we're left dazed and confused like Elle. If you're a fan of the franchise, you still might try to find some semblance in the frivolity of one 'Wet Hot Summer' extravaganza, but if you're not, it's drab at best.

When I'd reviewed The Kissing Booth 2 last year, I had remarked how it was what To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You should have been. This time around, The Kissing Booth 3 should have taken a note or two and wrapped up the franchise as beautifully as To All the Boys: Always and Forever did. Alas, Elle's last kiss wasn't all that memorable like her first smooch and we're instead glad to kiss the franchise goodbye, for good.