There are many, many improbable things about The Kissing Booth 2, including the fact that I loved it. I am significantly closer to my 30th birthday than to my last all-school assembly, but these fictional teens got me rooting for their eternal happiness.
Still, as I was gasping at the plot twists in the sequel to Netflix's 2018 hit, most of which are driven by those two classic life pests—you know, intercom systems and too many hot boys being in love with you—one strange edit took me out.
Even if we accept the popular teen rom-com delusion that high schools are populated by people who look like 24-year-old models who live in mansions and never have homework, the Kissing Booth movies take suspended reality to its furthest extreme.
Here is where The Kissing Booth 2 crosses the line: Towards the middle of the film, Elle (Joey King) and Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez) have been practicing Dance, Dance, Revolution for hours. They must! (Elle's competing in a DDR tournament to win money for school.) They take a break and go on a Ferris wheel, where they actually have a very sweet, reflective exchange about the competing values of success and happiness.
(Side note: At this point, I thought I was in one of the final scenes of the movie, but it turned out there was an hour and seven minutes left to go. The Kissing Booth 2 is, inexplicably, 132 minutes long, the same length as The Departed and Fight Club.)
The couple adjourns to the beach, under a full moon, naturally. Through the course of the conversation, Marco is holding an acoustic guitar the size of a toddler upon his lap.
Marco strums the guitar sensually, layers of masculine bracelets jangling in the Santa Monica breeze, his eyelashes approximately the length of pine needles. But where the fuck did that guitar come from? Was the guitar on the ferris wheel? Was the guitar manifested by the power of vibes? Did Marco store a full-sized instrument under the ferris wheel in the gentle hands of the ferris wheel employees, and then pop it on his back, hike it across the beach, tune it, and then play Elle a few “impromptu” chords?
So, did the editors not notice the glitch, or was this an intentional choice? Does it even matter?
The first movie is (in my opinion) a glossy tale about what happens when a controlling guy with violent anger problems falls in love with you. It also begs the question: What if teenagers would pay to kiss a blindfolded person in front of an audience of their peers?
The joy of The Kissing Booth 2 is that it rewrites that problematic guy as a friend-to-women-everywhere, largely abandons the second question, and replaces it with better ones. What if there was a giant, arena-sized competition based on the arcade game Dance, Dance, Revolution, and the prize was $50,000? (There actually are DDR championships—and they are amazing—just nothing like the ones in the movie.)
What if the standard freshman dorm at Harvard was a sprawling chalet complete with a wood-burning fire? What if your average night of high school consisted of riding your VT 750 C Shadow motorcycle to the Hollywood sign for a tender bout of lovemaking?
So bring on the full moon and materializing guitar! Whether the glitch was an editing error or an intentional moment of magical realism, what if we lived in the world The Kissing Booth 2 imagines? A world where weird girls are desired, gay teens are cheered, and guitars materialize by way of sheer ambiance? I'd live there. Overactive intercom system and all.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter.
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