Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Kissing Booth 3 concludes another stellar rom-com trilogy from Netflix, the second this year after To All The Boys ended. Though The Kissing Booth 2 remains the high mark of the series for me, this three-quel earns major brownie points for emphasizing its character relationships over petty dramatics. The love triangle of 2 takes a backseat to Elle’s college prospects and the introduction of a brand-new list. If you loved the first two Kissing Booth movies, this one is more of the same, and it is sure to please fans.

It is the final summer before college, and Elle (Joey King) is still torn between the two worlds of Berkeley with her bestie Lee (Joel Courtney), or Harvard with her longtime boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi). The Flynn family is planning to get rid of their epic beach house when summer ends—a perfect opportunity for Elle, Lee, Noah, and Rachel (Meganne Young) to have the time of their lives! As Elle starts to go through the rooms with Lee, she finds an old hiding place where they stashed an ancient Mario Kart lunchbox with a special item inside: their “beach bucket list!” It contains “all our childhood summertime dreams and fantasies,” and provides a perfect outlet for Elle and Lee to have one big best friend blowout! Among the items on their list: go cliff jumping, sumo wrestling, sky diving, a pie-eating contest, “give noah an atomic wedgie,” and helium karaoke!

The summer is far from perfect however. Each item on the list leads Elle further away from Noah. The weight of Elle’s ultimate decision grows heavier by the day. Accepted at both colleges, she must contemplate the pros and cons of each choice. But what is best for Elle? It becomes more complicated the closer summer comes to being over forever… with the book about to close on part of Elle’s childhood thanks to both the selling of the beach house and the looming possibilities of college, the end of an era is nigh. So, too, is the end of the Kissing Booth trilogy…

The creators, including Vince Marcello (who directed and co-wrote all three films), make this third outing surprisingly emotional and nostalgic. Many of the things I loved most about this series make a reappearance, down to returning music—“Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon returns for a flash mob! Elle and Noah get a beautiful dance set to a jukebox playing “Time After Time,” while Marco lovers get a fun game of karting with Marco as Wario! Fun montages abound, the insight of Elle’s voiceovers continue to provide necessary dramatic heft, and all of the main character arcs are left on a satisfying, mature note. A new rule added signifies adulthood and maintaining friendships.

That full-circle ending is exactly what I wanted from this series, which never forgets anything important, nor does it try to shift character motivations in a way that feels disingenuous—I am looking at you, To All The Boys: Always and Forever. What Kissing Booth 3 gets right is that it never forget the fun angle, and it makes sure the audience is in on it, too. It is a satisfying series-closer that was well worth the wait. A blooper reel during the credits shows that the cast was having as much fun with this series as their audience! From one rom-com fan to another, this The Kissing Booth 3 is one you will not want to miss!

The Kissing Booth 3 smooches its way to your heart when it debuts on Netflix this Wednesday, August 11th.

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