‘To All the Boys 3′: good concept, poor execution

Netflix releases the final film of the popular To All the Boys series right in time for Valentines Day weekend.

Netflix [Fair Use]

Netflix releases the final film of the popular “To All the Boys” series right in time for Valentine’s Day weekend.

Kate McElhinney, News Editor

Based on a 2014 book series written by Jenny Han, the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” movie trilogy has been, by far, the most painful Netflix movie series I’ve kept up with thus far. I remember reading the books a few years ago and loving the characters and the storyline, so you can imagine my excitement when a movie about it was announced. However, none of them managed to live up to my expectations, and the final film, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” was certainly no exception.

Aside from the fact that the film barely followed the plot of the book, the bland plot it did have was slow and uninteresting. (Mild spoilers ahead, but not really.) For those who kept up with the first two films, bubbly and in-love Lara Jean Covey finds out that her boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky, will be attending Stanford University to play lacrosse, but she has been rejected.

I was only slightly bothered by the fact that Netflix changed the college from the University of Virginia to Stanford, but I guess I should’ve expected it, given the fact that Netflix loves to pretend that slightly below average students with no extracurriculars and poor writing skills go to Ivy Leagues all the time without having to worry about student debt. They constantly push the stereotype that it’s unacceptable to attend an in-state school, but I digress. Lara Jean is distraught that she will not be going to the same college as Peter, so she hopes to attend the University of California, Berkeley, which would only be about an hour away. You can probably guess how the rest of the movie goes.

The cast was virtually the same, with a few new characters added on as Lara Jean makes new friends on her college visits. As much as I love the original cast, I’m getting a little tired of the lack of growth from the characters. Nobody from the first movie has any sort of dynamic personality, and even Peter is the same clingy, overbearing boyfriend he was in the first movie. Again, I didn’t expect an Oscar-winning movie, but I hoped for far better.

The soundtrack was okay, nothing more or less. A lot of the songs were repeats from the first and second movies, and they felt overplayed. Even the newer songs didn’t really fit the vibe of the scenes they were put alongside, with the exception of “warm glow” by hippo campus. That song is played over a cute montage of Peter and Lara Jean planning their future, and the song perfectly matched the tone of the montage. Most of the music felt forced, and the genres changed too often for the soundtrack to feel cohesive.

While I already assumed how the plot of the movie would unfold because I read the book, someone who hasn’t even seen the prequels could probably guess how the movie ends. The plot had so much potential, yet it turned out to be so predictable. However, I think that viewers who skipped out on the book series will be less disappointed than I was. Granted, it has its cute moments.

The movie as a whole was mildly pleasant but disappointing. Sure, it tied the series together and proposed an ending to Lara Jean’s conflicts, but it just wasn’t attention-grabbing or memorable. For as much money as Netflix probably spent on this movie, one would think they would’ve spent enough money to write a half-decent script. 

Overall, it was upsetting to see such a good book trilogy lose its sparkle somewhere between script and screen, but I expected as much. As much as I wanted to love “To All the Boys 3,” I just couldn’t. It was cringey and underdone, and too many aspects strayed away from the plot of the book. It certainly isn’t something I would pay money to see in theaters, but it managed to kill almost two hours of my pretty uneventful Valentine’s Day weekend, so I guess that’s a plus. 

No matter how bad it was, most Netflix users will still watch it simply because of its accessibility, so I imagine the service will continue to make semi-decent rom coms and benefit from the loneliness of others.