4YE Reviews: To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You Is Marred By Poor Choices

Credit: Netflix

Am I saying that To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You isn’t adorable? No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is, sequels have the horrible misfortune of often being the bridge between one movie and another. Because of that, sequels often don’t feel complete or often lose what made the original so unique. Such is what happened to P.S. Friendships between characters were shafted. New friendships really require more time to develop, and let’s be real, Lara Jean makes a really stupid decision.

P.S. begins where the first To All the Boys ended. Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo) are a real-life couple and no longer faking it. They’re cute. She’s now kind of at the top of the social pyramid, but homegirl is struggling to figure out what it means to be a real girlfriend. She’s also struggling with the realization that every single first she’s experiencing with Peter–like first dates, or first kisses, or first make outs in front of your house with your father inside–he’s already experienced with Gen (Emilija Baranac), his ex-girlfriend, and her ex-best friend. This is a fact that basically eats her alive.

Add to the fact that her best friend Chrissy now has her own boy toy and she is busy volunteering at Belleview Retirement home. Guess who also is volunteering there? John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher), one of the recipients of her love letters. Turns out, John is the boy she was uber crushing on in middle school. No one else, just John. In the love letter to John, she told him flat out she loved him. Of course, this puts a damper on things with Peter. Luckily, Lara Jean has a feisty older woman to show her the ropes. Enter the delightful Holland Taylor as Stormy, a resident at Belleview.

The rest of the film highlights just how much Peter loves Lara Jean and just how much John adores Lara Jean and how utterly confused poor Lara Jean is about the whole mess. It’s a typical rom-com with the typical tropes that To All the Boys broke but are now back in full swing. We even had an Adventures In Babysitting montage at the beginning, as if that’s not proof enough things have gone back to normal.

It should be mentioned that Israel Broussard, the dreamy Josh from the first film, isn’t even in this film and I feel like that’s an oversight from the filmmakers. Yes, Josh will never be on the receiving end of Lara Jean’s affections, and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is Josh being absent from P.S. Their dynamic was interesting and I would’ve liked to have seen how Josh, who has been LJ’s friend for literally years, would’ve reacted to the whole John business. I also would’ve liked to have seen the kind of advice Josh would’ve given LJ. Again, it should be pointed out that Josh and LJ were best friends for possibly longer than LJ and Chrissy were. Maybe even longer than LJ and Gen too. So what gives? Why wasn’t Josh in this movie?

Thankfully, they kept Lucas as the voice of the reason, but even then, his role was diminished greatly in favor of the love triangle, which, by the way, I’m going to say this again, LJ made the wrong choice.

If you thought that Centineo and Condor had chemistry in To All the Boys, nothing is going to prepare you for the insane amount of chemistry that Condor and Fisher have in P.S. In fact, they have so much more potent and amazing chemistry, that it should be stated that LJ should’ve chosen John. Sorry, Kavinsky, you’re just not good enough. But, in all honesty, John comes in as a reminder that Peter is, really, absolutely nothing like Lara Jean and the fact they have anything in common is a stretch for me, especially after seeing Lara Jean and John together.

John is much more sensitive and seems to be more in tune with Lara Jean, where Peter just feels like a tool of the school social hierarchy. I still don’t know a lot about him, save for he actually sucks and that comes to light in an argument that LJ and Peter have before Peter heads off to one of his lacrosse games. No seriously, Peter really sucks. Maybe if the next film has some character development for Peter, I might like him, but after that argument, I’m probably not going to change my mind. John simply seems like a more natural choice and that’s bolstered by Condor and Fisher’s insane amount of chemistry.

Basically, P.S. I Still Love You is a link between To All the Boys and Always and Forever, Lara Jean and while I’m invested in the story now, I can’t help but look at Peter and wish that Lara Jean had made a different choice.

Shelby Arnold
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