Joey King was part of the Netflix Kissing Booth series from 2018 to 2021 starting from when she was 17. This young adult film series helped her and her co-star Jacob Elordi garner a ton of fans on social media, with King having more than 19 million Instagram followers at the time of writing. The movies didn't gain as much support from critics, but the 23-year-old actress still defends them.
The Kissing Booth started out with a quirky teenager who gets a job at a kissing booth and kisses the older brother of her best friend, with the remaining movies exploring the growing relationship between the three characters. Despite the critics panning these three movies, Joey King told Independent about how proud she was taking part in them.
The first movie currently has a 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, saying that the movie was too full of cliches. Other critics found the film “sexist” and “objectively bad,” but was still a hit with audiences because of the original novel’s popularity on Wattpad as well as not having too many original Netflix rom-coms at the time. The Ramona and Beezus actress was confident the sequel would be more of a hit, and she was technically right as the film has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, critics still couldn’t help but note the sequel’s lack of originality in the rom-com genre.
Kissing Booth 3 concluded the trilogy last year but still shared as many negative reviews as its predecessors. The final film of the trilogy has a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics saying it came off as “immature” and played it safe by not providing audiences with a good story to tell. On the other hand, the fans had mixed responses about the film’s conclusion, with many of them feeling this movie gave them closure with an emotional ending. But others had trouble relating to the main character of Elle and felt like fan-favorite character Marco was underserved.
In 2020, Joey King told Variety that she felt like her beloved franchise was “critic-proof," and that the movies were not for the purpose of wowing the critics but to give audiences an entertaining experience. She mentioned that while she was grateful she got to be in critically acclaimed films like the streaming service hit The Act, not everything she’s in has to be a critical success. It's nice to know she cares more about serving the fans than the critics in the projects she takes on.
Joey King may not be coming back for another Kissing Booth movie anytime soon, but you can see her grow as an actress and executive producer in the John Wick-esque fairy tale movie The Princess on Hulu now and the upcoming YA film adaptation of Uglies. If you’re willing to give The Kissing Booth movies a chance, you can see them now on your Netflix subscription.
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Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.