To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (3 stars)

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You

This resonant but rushed follow-up to the Netflix smash returns us to Lara Jean and her romantic trials

The much-anticipated follow-up to Netflix's 2018 teen romance sensation To All the Boys I've Loved Before (based on Jenny Han's young adult novel) picks up the love story of Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo) as they navigate the ups and downs of a serious relationship. If the original offered its adolescent audience the thrill of a first kiss, then this sequel directed by Michael Fimognari (the first film's DoP) and penned by returning screenwriter Sofia Alvarez, alongside J Mills Goodloe, shows its protagonist and fans of the first instalment the truth behind happily-ever-after.

Events begin when John Ambrose McClaren (an endearing Jordan Fisher) who Lara Jean met at Model UN camp – and who beady-eyed viewers may spot has changed race from the original – throws a spanner in the works by belatedly replying to one of the five letters Lara Jean's younger sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) sent out. He then serendipitously turns up at the retirement home where Lara Jean is volunteering.

John Corbett returns as the girls' devoted father, getting a lovely side narrative, and Holland Taylor is a real treat as the older, wiser Stormy, who dispenses sound advice to our heroine; the latter nicely paying tribute to Iona and Andie's dynamic in Pretty in Pink, when the teenage girl has to choose between two boys. All these sweet stories thread together to deliver a message about making peace with the past in order to move on in life.

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is littered with hilarious and remarkable coincidences, with the screenplay feeling both rushed and padded out. After a delightful start, that touches upon Lara Jean's Korean heritage, the way the film then plays with the tropes of the teen comedy threatens to take it into Not Another Teen Movie territory. Still, Condor and Centineo are a winning pair, really selling the romance as they bicker and reunite, while the doubts and insecurities of a young woman in her first relationship will certainly resonate with its core audience. A third instalment is already in the can.

Available to watch on Netflix from Wed 12 Feb.

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