'To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You' Review: Rom-Com Sequel Finds More Love To Mine
After blowing up Netflix’s own version of box office, a.k.a. the algorithm, in 2018, the streaming breakout hit 'To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before' was warranted a sequel or two rather fast. The offering now in 2020 is To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, based on the book 'P.S. I Still Love You'. While the first one was mostly by-the-numbers romantic comedy, Lana Condor (as Lara Jean) and Noah Centineo’s (Peter) charm and chemistry was found to be quite effective. ''I Still Love You'' and director-DoP Michael Fimognari are trying to live up to that hype, while also trying to stay truthful to the book it’s adapting.
The star in the making, Condor is again doing much of the heavy lifting here, providing another well rounded performance as the main character Lara Jean. While the written character development is a bit lacking, Condor plays ”LJ” with enough naivety and ambition to make the character work just as well as in the first movie. And though not much has changed, the production design and sets (by Chris August and Renee Read) are still vibrant with colour, standing out from the rest of teen drama productions as of late. New guy on the block, Jordan Fisher (John Ambrose), is a good sparring partner for Condor but the lack of shared screen time drags the effectiveness of their relationship down.
It’s very rare that one of the two main characters of a film manage to disappear from the spotlight in a sequel. Unfortunately that happens here with Centineo who seems to be in a completely different movie throughout, bringing a lacklustre performance as Peter and constantly losing to Condor and Fisher’s level of acting. Maybe he has realised that the casting of people (himself included) in mid-to-late twenties as 16-year-olds doesn’t work at all. I Still Love You also loses steam when it comes to its screenplay, which doesn’t explore the growth Lara Jean could be experiencing nor does it ever flow naturally; instead it rushes storylines and romantic developments.
Smileys: Lana Condor, set decoration
Frowneys: Casting, Noah Centineo, screenplay
P.S. I wish there was no Poor.Sequel.