One of Netflix's most popular movies of 2018, The Kissing Booth, got a long-awaited sequel this year, and though it feels slightly less intense and cringeworthy than its predecessor, The Kissing Booth 2 still isn't a movie suited for young kids. The film centers around high school student Elle Evans (Joey King), her best friend Lee, and her freshman-in-college boyfriend Noah, and many of the movie's themes and plot points are definitely more appropriate for kids in their age group — or, we'll say, older than around 13.
However, you know your tweens and teens best, so scroll through to learn what you should know about the film before your kids watch. That way, you'll know what to look out for and can foster meaningful conversations centering around the film's themes with your kids.
Warning: slight spoilers for The Kissing Booth 2 ahead!
What Parents Should Know Before Their Kids Watch The Kissing Booth 2
- Elle still makes all of her choices based on what her boyfriend and best friend will think. Elle puts many elements of her life into the hands of the guys she keeps in it. Noah's responsiveness or lack thereof often determines her self-worth, and the "Friendship Rules" she has set up with Lee dominate so many of the small and large choices in her life, from the concept of forgiveness to what colleges she'll apply to. It's worth having a conversation with your own kids about healthy friendships and boundaries, and what's OK — and vice versa — when it comes to relationships.
- Just as in the first movie, teen sex is considered a given. Although there aren't any overt sex scenes, there are a few instances of characters in bed together, shirts off, and, as the title implies, lots of kissing. The whole initial montage about Elle and Noah's summer together implies plenty of physical activity between the pair, and as the kissing booth is still a part of the school fair, it's pretty clear that the physical elements of teen relationships are considered to be one of the most important aspects. There's also a fairly cringe-worthy scene in which Elle objectifies Marco for, I kid you not, two full minutes as the entire school listens on unbeknownst to her.
- There's implied infidelity and later, actual cheating. This may not sound like something to "watch out for," but it's a good plot point to foster discussions about healthy relationships. Elle and Noah go through a rough patch due to a female friend Noah makes at school, and it drives Elle to question her worth and the trust she has in her (ahem, dysfunctional) relationship. However, on the other hand, Elle spends a ton of time with the new kid at school, Marco, and ends up kissing him . . . in front of Noah . . . while they're still dating each other. Relationships are hard and messy, and these plot points are definitely good conversation starters.
- There are several scenes depicting underage drinking. Depending on your kid, they might even miss it, as the drinking is casual, but Elle uses a fake ID to get into a pub and is served drinks with her also-underage boyfriend. It's not a huge deal for the plot in that no one does anything crazy while drunk, but it's worth noting that it happens and could lead to a good conversation about what constitutes drinking responsibly.
- There's a fair bit of cursing. Although the only F-bombs are in the credits and bleeped out, there are plenty of sh*ts, damns, hells, and a moment in which Lee's girlfriend asks Elle why she insists on being a cock-block. Oof! (See: healthy relationships and boundaries.)
- These teens' parents are typically nowhere to be found. Aside from a Thanksgiving scene and a couple of parent-kid conversations, the parents are MIA for most of this movie (Elle doesn't even seem to ask permission to take a cross-country flight to Boston on a whim?!). Even in the scenes with parents, it seems that the teens have very few boundaries, obligations, or rules. This is another concept that could lead to a good conversation about the role you play in your kids' lives as their parent (and how movies so often get that dynamic completely wrong).