The Kissing Booth – Netflix movie review: “slapstick, social embarrassment and a secret affair”

Joey King betrays her BFF when her lifelong crush on his hunky brother develops into something a lot more

The Kissing Booth; Netflix; JH

★★★

This Netfllix original film successfully landed in the laps of its sassy-but-anxious teen demographic and became a poster film for the brave new world of direct delivery.

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Based on a self-published novel by Welsh teenager Beth Reekles, it’s a traditional tale of platonic LA high-school besties Lee (Joel Courtney) and Elle (Joey King), whose lifelong pact is threatened by her growing crush on his toned older brother (Jacob Elordi).

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Seasoned TV-movie director Vince Marcello has slapstick and social embarrassment down pat (Elle’s first-day-of-term skirt malfunction causes a bit of a stir) and the secret affair – shockingly consummated under the Hollywood sign – brews genuine angst and regret.

A smattering of swearing, sexual references and underage drinking means it doesn’t patronise its intended audience, and it refreshingly allows the female lead to be the dork, rather than some unobtainable Venus.

Ironically, the school-carnival kissing booth itself is the only creaky device.

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The Kissing Booth is available to watch on Netflix