Cliché plot stretches too far

As someone who fell in love with Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky in the first “To All Boys I’ve Loved Before,” my high expectations were left unfulfilled in the second installment of the trilogy, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.” Though the movie was adorable in many ways, the predictability and weak plot line made the movie fall well short of the first one.  

While the first movie follows the swoonworthy cliche of girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, highlighted by the natural chemistry between actors Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, the sequel feels more like the filmmakers were stretching a story that was already over. The only parts that made the movie worth the watch was the competing love interest John Ambrose McLaren (Jordan Fisher) and the relatable personalities of Lara Jean (Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Centineo).

Based on the trilogy by Jenny Han, the series focuses on the plain life of Lara Jean Covey, which is turned upside down in the first film after her younger sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart), secretly sends out Lara Jean’s most sacred love letters. After being confronted by the fourth receiver of her letters, Peter Kavinsky, she begins a whirlwind romance with him that blossoms when they pretended to date.

The second movie picks up with Lara Jean accepting Peter as her real boyfriend. Everything seems perfect until she receives a reply from her sixth grade crush and third receiver of her letters, John Ambrose. Instead of introducing new sceneries and showing different perspectives, the movie was too similar to the original.

Starting from the beginning date scenes to the ending kiss scene, the movie felt like a continuation of the second portion of the first movie where Peter and Lara Jean were still fake dating. Though the chemistry between the two main leads remained strong, the worn out plot line of their romance made the relationship between Lara Jean and competing John Ambrose more exciting and, what I would consider, the primary positive of the film.

With Condor’s character being Asian-American and Fisher’s John Ambrose African-American, the movie also brought a level of diversity not found in most romantic comedies. The altruistic and lovable traits of  John Ambrose made him a viable contrast to the stubborn and headstrong personality of Peter. With both competing for the affection of the oblivious Lara Jean, this aspect of the plot sustained the film’s likability.  

The positives of the film also lie in the jokes and side conversations of supporting characters Chris and Lucas, best friends to Lara Jean. Even the briefly touched on  relationship between Chris and Peter’s best friend Trevor (Ross Butler) offered a comedic aspect necessary in every romantic cliche.

The movie may not have met my expectations after the blockbuster of the original, but the diverse characters and distinctive backgrounds made me excited to watch the third and final installment of the franchise.