Netflix’s movie ‘P.S. I Still Love You’ falls flat

To all the movie sequels that were just not as good as the first, you have a new inductee. 

Over this past Valentine’s Day, the highly anticipated sequel of Netflix’s original movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” directed by Susan Johnson, and starring Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, was released.

I was hopeful, because the cast was the same as the original and the promotions seemed to hint at a bit of a love triangle happening between Laura Jean, Peter and some other unidentified man, played by Jordan Fisher. Of course I was excited to see that play out, because who doesn’t love a good “Twilight”-style love triangle just in time for Valentine’s Day?

However, I turned out to be extremely disappointed and underwhelmed by the film and its lazy plot. 

The movie starts out with a little montage of Laura Jean dancing giddily around her room, singing about Peter and how much she loves him as she is getting ready for their first official date. 

In her typical fashion, Laura Jean’s little sister Kitty, played by Anna Cathcart, barges in and bursts her bubble. Somewhere in the conversation between sisters, Laura Jean asks Kitty if she physically looks different because she is now in a relationship, wondering if she looks like someone who has a boyfriend. 

Last time I checked, having a boyfriend does not change any physical attributes you have. I just found it a little bit disappointing that Laura Jean’s character would be so daft when it came to her place with Peter. It seemed at the end of the last movie that she figured that whole thing out.

It was also annoying to me how throughout the whole movie she had the mentality that because she was actually dating Peter, she had to somehow look and behave a certain way. The thing was, she was the only one in the relationship who felt that way. Peter gave her no reason to think that she had to change her appearance or behavior because of their new status.

As the movie progresses, John Ambrose, who was a recipient of one of the infamous letters from the first movie, writes Laura Jean back. She is thrown into a whirlwind of emotions that are only amplified by the fact that John Ambrose is a volunteer with her at the same assisted living home, Bellview, where Peter does not work.

Laura Jean starts to imagine herself with John Ambrose, but knows that it is wrong because she’s in a committed relationship with Peter. 

John Ambrose shares intimate and personal thoughts with Laura Jean, flirting with the idea that their spark from the 6th grade is reigniting. He even shares that he was insecure growing up because he felt like everyone was only friends with him because he was friends with Peter. 

It was at that moment that Laura Jean should have confessed that she has been dating Peter, but there would be absolutely no plot if she did that. 

It isn’t until later on, when a group of them are unearthing their old time capsule in a treehouse, that Peter and John Ambrose come face-to-face, and it’s revealed that Peter and Laura Jean are dating. John Ambrose, clearly crushed by this news, leaves, allowing Peter and Laura Jean to make up.

The next time Laura Jean sees John Ambrose, she explains that she was afraid to tell him about her relationship with Peter because of their previous conversations, and they are back to being friends again. They then come up with the idea to throw a ball at Bellview for all the people there.

The next day, Laura Jean dresses up for Peter’s lacrosse game, but before she gets to wish him luck, her best friend Chris, played by Madeleine Arthur, mentions that she saw Peter and his ex-girlfriend Gen, played by Emilija Baranac, together. Laura Jean and Peter get into a massive fight and end up breaking up. 

There is a typical break-up montage — he returns the Valentine’s Day gift, and they don’t talk about the real issues with their relationship. 

Laura Jean meets up with Gen in the old treehouse where they opened the time capsule, and they have a heart-to-heart about Peter. Gen affirms that Peter is crazy about Laura Jean and it was all a misunderstanding.

Later that day, Laura Jean goes to the Bellview Ball, dances with John Ambrose and kisses him. She realizes that she still loves Peter and leaves to go find him, but Peter must’ve had the same idea because he was waiting outside for her. They kiss, and the movie ends with them getting back together.

I have problems with this. This movie is definitely not trying to win Oscars here, and I get that. But the film had serious plot issues.

The plot is centered around the love triangle — or, rather, love square that is happening here because of the conflict between John Ambrose, Peter, Gen and Laura Jean. The reliance on this conflict to carry the whole movie on its shoulders is insane. 

There are examples of this tactic working out in film, like with “Bridget Jones Diary,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” or even “Pretty in Pink.” However, I think that it was shown to be very surface level with TATB 2.

I also think that the movie went backwards in maturity compared to the first one. Laura Jean was threatened and insecure by absolutely everything. Which it is normal to feel this way in relationships, I’m not pretending it doesn’t happen. But when it is just constant throughout the movie, it becomes old quickly.

I understand that this is her first relationship and this is new territory for her, but the constant nit-picking at Peter and her insecurities when it came to him and Gen were so surmountable that it made the film hard to watch without rolling my eyes every other minute.

The film could have made this more of a reflective and growth stage for Laura Jean in her young adult life, but instead it was more of a nonsensical school girl crush coming back years and years later to maybe stir up old feelings and cause drama. It just didn’t make sense.

It just didn’t make sense to me that Laura Jean thought back to the time where she and John Ambrose dressed up in costumes for a halloween party in sixth grade and that was so impactful and intense that more than five years later, she would be thinking of leaving a relationship she fought to be in for the whole first movie. 

The whole point of Peter and Laura Jean’s relationship was that it was different. It wasn’t stereotypical, it started in a fun and quirky way and then that whole fun spark was lost with the continuation into the second movie.

Overall, the film was OK as far as sequels go. This series is stereotypical, unrealistic, and teen fiction, and that’s fine if that is what you signed up for. I think that this movie is perfect if you just want to watch it for pure entertainment, getting nothing out of it except maybe that jealousy and insecurity are real and they do happen in relationships.

At the end of the day, all I know is that I didn’t hear Peter say “Woah, woah, woah” once and I’m upset.