Joey King Still Adores Kissing Booth Movies Despite Negative Reviews

Joey King reveals that she admires The Kissing Booth movies despite their negative reception. Based on the novels of the same name by Beth Reekles, The Kissing Booth franchise kicked off on Netflix in 2018 and was followed by two films, The Kissing Booth 2 in 2020 and The Kissing Booth 3 in 2021. The YA romance saga centered on King's quirky Shelly "Elle" Evans as she breaks the rule of her friendship with her best friend, Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney), by dating his older brother Noah (Jacob Elordi). The movies explore the trio's complicated dynamic, tracking Elle and Noah's tumultuous relationship, as well as their grappling with their love lives and coming of age.


The Kissing Booth trilogy succeeded with viewers in terms of streaming numbers, and Netflix consistently identified the movies as some of its most-watched releases. Yet, despite the popularity, the film series was critically panned, in part due to what many felt were repetitive storylines, and an unwillingness to explore the characters' lives outside their romantic exploits. The deployment of rom-com clichés and misogynistic tropes were battered, with critics also noting that the final movie, The Kissing Booth 3, failed to give the franchise a mature and honest conclusion.

Related: Why The Kissing Booth Trilogy's Rotten Tomatoes Scores Are So Low

Despite the criticism, King revealed to The Independent U.K. that she holds The Kissing Booth trilogy very close to her heart. The actress cherished her time playing Elle and is proud of her work in the films. Acknowledging their poor reception, the King said she would "never regret" her work on them, saying:

“I couldn’t be prouder of those movies. I loved them so much and playing that character made me happy. I’ll never regret those movies, and I love them so much no matter what anyone says.”

Elle Joey King Working Dunes Kissing Booth 3

Although The Kissing Booth trilogy received a lot of flack, it is undeniable that the franchise helped launch King to widespread popularity. Of course, the actress was already regarded as a rising star before she signed on to The Kissing Booth films, thanks to her performances in The Dark Knight Rises and Wish I Was Here. But Elle was a breakthrough role that turned the actress into a major star. Her work in the movies led her to secure parts in the Emmy-nominated miniseries, The Act, as well as the recent Brad Pitt-fronted film Bullet Train, establishing her as one of Hollywood's most beloved young actresses.

It makes sense that King would admire and be proud of her work in The Kissing Booth trilogy, considering that although the films were critically panned, there was always some praise for her performance. King put life into Elle, and the way that she embodied her character's evolution is worthy of praise. While The Kissing Booth movies were never able to differentiate themselves from their genre ilk, that does not reflect the talents of the stars. King, Elordi, and Courtney all put their best into the movies, and although their characters were not the best-written, they still managed to shine through with captivating performances. King is clearly appreciative of the opportunity The Kissing Booth trilogy provided her, and rightfully so, as the films are counted among the actress' most recognized credits.