Entertainment

The Cliffhanger Ending of Netflix's 'The Kissing Booth 2' Sets Up a College Conundrum

It seems likely that a 'Kissing Booth' threequel is on the horizon.

kissing booth 2
Netflix

After the whopping two hours and 12 minutes that make up The Kissing Booth 2, you might be left wondering how much story there could possibly be left to tell of Elle (Joey King) and her hunky boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi), who happens to be the brother of her BFF Lee (Joel Courtney). But if the final moment is any indication: The Kissing Booth 3 is probably in the works. (Update: It is! And it has already been filmed.) 

Yes, Elle has a big decision to make that's teased in the last scene: Will she go to UC Berkeley to hang with Lee for the next four years? Or will she ship up to Boston and attend Harvard with Noah? After all, she got into both. Either way, the door is left open for Netflix to continue franchising its rom com hit. Let's explore what could possibly come next.

Remind me: What happened in The Kissing Booth?

When the first Kissing Booth movie premiered in 2018, Netflix had a surprise phenomenon on its hands. Though the movie had little name recognition, it became the subject of plenty of conversations online, both among a newly rabid fandom and its critics for its regressive storyline. In the first movie, Elle and Lee organize a charity kissing booth at a school fair. There, Elle is smooched by Noah, a Danny Zuko type, who she's been crushing on. But! Elle and Noah only get together after he slut shames her in an attempt to "defend her honor." Later, Lee also slut shames her after learning that she and Noah are going out because she betrayed his friendship by dating his big brother. And yet, everyone is happy in the end. Elle and Noah are dating, Noah's going to Harvard in the fall, and Lee gets a girlfriend named Rachel (Meganne Young). 

Where does The Kissing Booth 2 pick up? 

The Kissing Booth 2 involves a short recap of everyone's summer of fun before Elle, Lee, and Rachel start their senior year. Elle and Noah are trying to maintain a long-distance relationship, and he encourages her to apply to Boston schools, even though it's always been her dream to go to Berkeley with Lee. Still, her perfect relationship hits a pothole when she gets wind of Noah's beautiful new friend Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers).

Meanwhile, in order to raise some cash for Harvard tuition, Elle decides to enter a Dance Dance Revolution-type competition, called "Dance Dance Machine" here to avoid copyright issues, with Lee. (It goes without saying that DDR is not what it was in the early 2000s. Last year, the New York Times published a story about the last two DDR machines in New York.) But Lee gets hurt and Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez), the new hot boy in school, has to sub in for him. As Elle gets skeptical of Noah's behavior in Cambridge, she gets closer to Marco. 

But, as in the first movie, everything basically works out. Elle learns Noah was faithful, and he forgives her for macking on Marco. The rift that forms in Elle and Lee's friendship when he learns she might not go to Berkeley with him subsides. Also, there's another kissing booth. Because there has to be. 

kissing booth 2
Netflix

Why is this movie so long? 

Honestly, I have no idea. Ostensibly a lot happens in The Kissing Booth 2, but it also feels like nothing actually happens. Sure, there are some subplots that I didn't mention, including a bit about Lee's relationship with Rachel and the strain his friendship with Elle puts on it. But it also feels like you could cut 45 minutes out of the movie and almost nothing would change. Did The Kissing Booth 2 need a montage that's basically a "Travel to Boston" ad? No, but it's there anyway! 

How could The Kissing Booth 3 possibly account for COVID? 

That cliffhanger implies there's probably a Kissing Booth 3 in the works. The initial Kissing Booth was based on a YA novel by Beth Reeckles and the second installment in her series was only published after the first movie came out. There is no third Kissing Booth book (yet...), so that won't provide any indication as to what is going to happen. Regardless, while watching, I couldn't help but think about how The Kissing Booth will adapt to a post-coronavirus landscape. The tight-quartered scenes set at the kissing booth now play like a horror movie. Teens! Stop kissing willy nilly! There's a virus out there. 

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.