Life is … complicated. Or so Elle would say.
Elle’s lover and longtime boyfriend, Noah, is off at Harvard for his first semester in college. And Elle? Well, she’s navigating the ups and downs of senior year while trying to decide where to apply for college.
Since she was little, she and her best friend, Lee, have always agreed that they would attend U.C. Berkeley together. But this whole long-distance relationship with Noah has Elle second-guessing her childhood promise.
But the truth is, Elle could never afford Harvard. Unless, of course, she enrolls in a dance competition with a chance at winning $50,000. The only catch is that she’ll need to do so with the new, certified hunk in town: Marco.
What starts as an innocent training for some big dollars turns into a confusing romance that leaves Elle wondering what she’ll do with her future if Noah isn’t the one for her.
Elle grows as a young woman who can stand up for herself. She also asks for forgiveness when necessary and tries to mend rocky relationships. At the end, she learns that it’s more important to figure out who you want to be than to obsesses about what the future holds.
Elle’s father encourages her to think about her future and to make her plans based upon what she really wants.
Marco tells Elle that she deserves someone who will love, respect, and cherish her for who she is. He tells Elle that he admires her perseverance and her ability to go after the things she desires. Marco also sacrifices much of his time and energy to help Elle, even when she’s rude and ungrateful.
Lee, for his part, is also kind, caring, compassionate and thoughtful. He apologizes when he’s wrong, and he genuinely cares for those around him. After he messes things up with his girlfriend, he apologizes and mends the issue.
High school students attend a Halloween party.
In keeping with the first film, this sequel leans heavily toward sexual content to keep the plot rolling.
Elle says she spent the entire summer with Noah (and we see them pictured in bed together as he’s shirtless). Although it’s never clear, it’s assumed that Noah is older than 18 while Elle is not, and the two have a very sexually charged relationship.
Later, it’s insinuated that Elle and Noah have sex. Although we only see a shirtless Noah on top of Elle in a bra, kissing her, it’s clear what happens as the camera pans away. Elle takes a topless picture for Noah (the phone covers her breasts) but gets scared and doesn’t send it.
Elle fawns over a new, attractive male student named Marco. After watching a video of him lifting weights while shirtless, she says, accidentally over the loudspeaker, that he is “luscious” and a “snack,” and that she’d like to “lick,” “smack” and “bite” his rear. She continues saying similar things for a few minutes.
Two high school guys flirt with each other and eventually kiss multiple times, as do two girls. There are multiple references to and jokes about sex. Couples kiss, make-out, slow dance, flirt and hold hands often. Guys go shirtless, and girls wear bikinis at the beach. Women wear cleavage- and midriff-baring tops. A high school guy bends over and we see a bit of his backside.
Noah and Marco nearly get into a fist fight, throwing out threats, but Noah stops himself before anything actually happens.
Lee falls and sprains his ankle. While trying to save Elle from embarrassment, Lee runs into multiple people in the hallway, knocking them down.
The f-word is bleeped out five times during the credits. The s-word is heard about 10 times. God’s name is misused more than 10 times. Other profanities include multiple utterances each of “d–n,” “a–,” “h—,” “b–ch” and “d–mit.”
Lee’s girlfriend asks Elle why she’s been “c–k blocking” her relationship with Lee.
Elle uses a fake ID to get into a pub with Noah and drinks beer with him. College students drink wine, beer and shots of hard liquor.
As in the first film, parents are seen as background characters that place no boundaries on their children and let them do whatever they please. This is portrayed most clearly in Noah and Elle’s relationship.
Noah lies to Elle out of fear, causing many issues in their relationship. Lee doesn’t set boundaries in his relationship with Elle and hurts his girlfriend in doing so.
High school students gossip and make rude comments.
The Kissing Booth 2 is the latest in the long line of Netflix original romantic comedies rated TV-14. Building on the story that began in 2018’s The Kissing Booth, this sequel does things a bit differently from the original. While there is still plenty of sexual content here, this sequel felt marginally less creepy and somewhat sweeter.
Elle keeps her clothes on throughout most of the film, and Noah is less misogynistic and violent. Additionally, Lee and Elle learn more about themselves through their friendship, while Elle learns about the woman she’d like to become.
But let’s not get too carried away with praise here. Noah is still just as shady and manipulative as he was in the first film. What’s arguably worse, this story tries to make it seem as if his emotionally abusive actions are warranted … and that Elle should be apologizing for them.
Despite the fact that their relationship is clearly dysfunctional, Elle still ends up in bed with Noah repeatedly. The story treats teen sexual intimacy as a given. And to that concern we can add profanity, underage drinking and multiple couples (both straight and gay) kissing and making out.
Boundaries? Consequences? Nah, there’s none of that stuff. And while these underage adolescents play at being adults, these kids’ parents are completely AWOL.
Netflix is obviously aiming at a young teen audience. But parents shouldn’t be fooled by a lenient rating that doesn’t provide enough warning for the sexualized story line viewers will encounter.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).