To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020)
Director: Michael Fimognari
Writers: Sofia Alvarez and J. Mils Goddloe
Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Jordan Fisher, Anna Cathcart, Janel Parrish, Ross Butler, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac, Trezzo Mahoro, Holland Taylor, Sarayu Blue, and John Corbett
Plot: Lara Jean starts to have second thoughts about her relationship with Peter when another letter recipient re-enters the picture.
Review: I’m a little late to the “To All the Boys” party. With them being on Netflix, aimed at teenage girls, and with no notable stars worth mentioning, I didn’t think they were for me. I’d heard the original was pretty good, but I still stayed away. Well, this year I’m trying to see just about anything that’ll leave an impact. I would’ve gotten to this earlier (probably the day it was released) if I even knew it was a thing. The Wikipedia page I pull what movies I’m going to do reviews on didn’t have it listed until Monday morning. And, having never seen the first, I was already soooo far behind. But, I made a pact to myself and I’m going to keep it. I watched the first one on Monday and was presently surprised. It’s not fantastic, but the characters are so good that you can sort of ignore those flaws. And, the second one? I feel mostly the same way. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s a fine evening in watching Netflix.
In my opinion, the biggest thing To All the Boys has going for it is Lana Condor was Lara Jean. She is a revelation. I guess I’d seen her in X-Men: Apocalypse, but I barely remember it. She fell victim to that franchise’s shameful tendency to push interesting comic book characters to the background. Anyways, she’s fantastic. I won’t let her slip under my radar anymore. She’s so funny and full of energy. It’s infectious when you’re watching. You’re in a good mood simply because she’s in a good mood. I could see her blowing up and being in a ton of really successful comedies or a sitcom. I’d watch her pretty much anywhere.
And actually I liked all of the characters in this movie. Both of her potential boyfriends were just the right amount of dreamy while still being realistic. Her dad is hilarious. Her sister, while she can be a bit over the top, made me laugh a couple of times. Her friends all seem very cool. And, even the “villain” of the story felt like an actual human being with a really touching scene towards the end. In fact, I liked living in this world with these people so much that I’m confused why Netflix didn’t just make this a series. Maybe it’s because I more or less watched them back to back, but I had that thought several times. I could easily spend 8 to 12 episodes laughing at their witty banter and enjoying their friendship. Or, at least, I could if it were just lighthearted all the time.
Which brings me to the only thing I don’t enjoy about these movies: the drama. Holy crap does this feel forced. Maybe this is what it’s like to date in high school. (I wouldn’t know.) But, god damn, do they make mountains out of anthills. Every single fight the characters have in these movies (this one in particular though) is groan worthy. Like, if they just communicated none of this would be happening. It’s maddening. Every time I start to really vibe with these movies, I end up getting frustrated with the characters for being frustrated at each other. And, I don’t think that it’s just that I’m too old to “get it.” I watched the entire first season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and I ate up that Gen-Z drama with a spoon. I loved it without really being a fan of the source material. To All the Boys, though, just left me not being able to love a movie that featured characters I really enjoyed.
Also, is it law that these teenage love story sequels have to include a competing love interest who is ultimately going to lose out despite being a really nice guy and exactly what the main character needs? Because it really feels that way. It’s a little Twilight-y. Just sayin’.
TL;DR: Despite some of its groan inducing drama, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You kind of won me over with its lovable characters.
Score: 7/10 (Good.)