In the summer of 2018, Netflix released a run of teen romantic comedy movies. Movies such as The Kissing Booth, Set It Up, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Sierra Burgess is a Loser entertained teen audiences all summer long. These movies saw much success and soon enough, requests for sequels ran rampant. Netflix decided to make sequels for both To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing Booth. The first to grace our screens was To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You, which was released on February 12.
The story continues right where the first movie left off, with Lara Jean Covey (Lana Candor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) starting their new relationship. However, trouble comes their way when Lara Jean receives a letter responding to her middle school love letter from John Ambrose McClarren (Jordan Fisher). Lara Jean does not know whether to respond or tell Peter, but then by rom com happenstance, John Ambrose and Lara Jean volunteer at the same retirement home. After spending time with both John Ambrose and Peter, Lara Jean finds herself in a bit of a love triangle and has to decide which boy she wants to be with.
After the first movie, I was excited to see the sequel and the continuation of Lara Jean’s story. Of these Netflix summer rom coms, I thought this was the best one to come out in 2018. These movies are also based on books by author Jenny Han which I read in middle school and enjoyed, so I was excited to see the story unfold on screen. However, I found more disappointment than enjoyment from this movie.
The biggest problem is that when it ends, it feels like nothing happened throughout the whole film. The main arc is supposed to be Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship, but it feels like everything that happens between them is mediocre. A major turning point in the movie is when Peter and Lara Jean break up, but there is barely any emotion shown after it happens and their relationship is quickly salvaged.
There is a possibility for an interesting plot, especially appealing to teenage audiences, but the characters are so much more surface level than they were in the first movie. Besides when Lara Jean and her ex-bff Gen solve their differences, there is little to no character development throughout. This is part of the reason why by the end of the movie, it feels like nothing has changed from the end of the first movie. None of the characters have more layers and audiences have no further knowledge of them, apart from the new character John Ambrose.
The movie does have the element of entertainment, however. It very much suffices for a typical teen movie, but in a way that satisfies rom com stereotypes and does not go much further than that.