Review: ‘P.S. I Still Love You’ sequel ‘loses competitive edge’

Ryan Wang, Staff Writer

Courtesy of Netflix
TRL’s Ryan Wang describes the sequel as lacking in the “sentimental moments between Lara Jean and Peter” that fans fell in love with in the first movie.


Sequels have been known to hit or miss. They either live up to the hype  the original film garnered, or they disappoint hopeful audiences. But after the immense success of hit original “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” it should come as no surprise that Netflix would release a part two, especially after leaving wide-eyed audiences on a major cliffhanger at the end of the first movie. Thus, Netflix released the well-anticipated sequel,P.S. I Still Love You” a year later, just before Valentine’s day last week.

The first movie was an all-in-all success, encapsulating audiences in a classical teenage romantic comedy. While Netflix has produced a slew of rom-coms over the years, the originality and lovable, yet relatable, characters made the world of Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) stand out from the rest. However, because the first film’s reception was staggering, the hype surrounding the sequel already created high expectations, which proved too high for the second go around.

It was reassuring watching each character appear on the screen again with the same personality and quirkiness they had in the first film, from Peters comical charm to Lara Jean’s relatableness and emotional uncertainty. Even side characters such as Kitty (Anna Cathcart) and Lucas (Trezzo Mahoro) displayed the same dynamic energy that made us fall in love with the first film. Everything about this sequel reflects the same nature of the first movie, from a similar tempo, type of humor, and style of music choice. Even minute details such as the contrasting lighting and camera angles that make this scream “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” It’s as if the characters in the sequel picked up exactly where they left off, without missing a beat.

While this movie correctly captures the insecurities that go along with a new relationship, what was missing from this romantic comedy was the romance. Audiences fell in love with the easygoing Peter in the first film, but the lack of Peter in the sequel was unnerving. Instead, newcomer John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher) took the spotlight, which does add well-needed drama to what would otherwise be a stagnant plot, but the sentimental moments between Lara Jean and Peter were noticeably missing.

I’m sure John Ambrose’s warm and thoughtful nature, paired with the same dry humor he shares with Kavinsky, made him a likable enough character to win over audiences for a short period. But those who watched and fell in love with the first film find themselves rooting for Peter throughout the movie. And the lack of Peter was simply disappointing, despite John Ambrose’s substitution as the main male protagonist. 

Even though the heartfelt moments between Lara Jean and Peter sporadically appeared throughout the film, the freshness and fun nature of the first movie were downplayed, making it seem like just another romantic comedy. What became more and more apparent as the film progressed was that Peter had lost the charmful touch that made us root for him in the first film. Instead, we’re left sorely disappointed at his efforts of being a romantic, and in some instances, it even seemed like the plot was pushing Peter as the typical “uninvested boyfriend.” The plot in many places felt forced, highlighting the likable nature of John.

So while “P.S. I Still Love You” still stands as a good enough romantic comedy, it certainly doesn’t live up to the hype the first movie produced. The lack of originality, romance, and Peter ultimately makes this movie lose its competitive edge against the other rom-coms available on Netflix. If Netflix chooses to produce a part three (which I think they most certainly should), the inclusion of more romance, fun moments, and once again, more Peter Kavinsky is direly needed. But due to its familiar cast and story, this movie should still come out as a success and would’ve been an excellent film to watch on Valentine’s day.

Rating: B-