Right off the bat, I still think To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is better than P.S. I Still Love You. To All the Boys has the capacity to be re-watched multiple times. It’s one of my go-to feel-good films whenever I’m down. The sequel, however, pales in comparison.
Lara Jean’s (Lana Condor) life is headed in a smooth direction when the film starts. She has a boyfriend and she’s hashed out her relationship with her sister. Nothing could go wrong. That is until she receives a letter from one of the boys Kitty (Anna Cathcart) sent a love letter to: John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher). From there, she starts to have doubts and spirals into the messy dimension of young love.
The film in its essence is still very much Lara Jean’s story. However, the other characters were fully overshadowed; their storylines weren’t given much justice. I didn’t feel Peter Kavinsky’s (Noah Centineo) presence even though his whole arc with Gen was one of the most integral parts of the whole film and John Ambrose became less of a character and more of an object for Lara Jean’s issues.
The pacing was off from the beginning. You don’t really get the time to empathize with anyone, not even Lara Jean, who is the voice of the film. Maybe because it’s the curse of being a sequel, or maybe the pacing is just terrible.
Needle drops, when they’re done right, gives scenes an extra pump of flavor. But, in this, the music felt too all over the place. It takes you out of the film quite often. Just because you put catchy pop songs doesn’t make the film automatically great.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a totally bad film. Lana Condor’s great comedic timing and performance saves the annoyingness and juvenile actions of Lara Jean. Some of the charms and points that I loved in the first film are still much alive in this one. The series just has to find the right balance between the sickly sweet drama of Lara Jean’s love life and family, and the clumsy but charming memories of growing up.