Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist became something of silent sleeper hit, garnering a decent following, nothing game-changing, but definitely not a flop. Perhaps it’s the screenwriters who adapted the screenplay were much more equipped to do so, because Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, authored by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan and adapted to the screen by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer is not really compelling in a way that it could have been.
The film follows Naomi (Victoria Justice, Victorious), a fabulous fashionista with every bit of flair of a runway model, and her gay best friend Ely (Pierson Fode, The Bold and the Beautiful). The two of them together have a very us-against-the-world mentality, even after the bit of drama where Naomi’s dad had an affair with one of Ely’s moms. Because, you know, that could make any relationship awkward, but they surprisingly stay close regardless. The mention of no kiss list, which is a major part of the title (and should be a major part of the plot), is mentioned a lot in the early part of the film, but then entirely glossed over and forgotten.
Naomi can’t completely accept Ely being gay, mostly because she still has fantasies of him falling in love with her in a non-friendly way, and Ely isn’t always privy to Naomi’s deeper human feelings. Naomi wants nothing to change in their relationship, but things start to and in the midst of their first year of college, a possible new fling (Matthew Daddario) and a betrayal that involves Naomi’s boyfriend (Ryan Ward), the world of Naomi and Ely begins to disintegrate with a possibility of never being repaired.
In its attempt at a modern kind of romance (which is an odd thing because their really isn’t any romance happening between the lead characters), Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List creates a semi-believable world where both sides of the coin are trying to be explored, but aren’t quite given the same opportunities to do so. The film is filled with clichés, some story lines move far too fast and come out of nowhere, and the concept of the no kiss list isn’t explored in any legitimate way that would make it important enough to be in the title.
Naomi and Ely have far too close of a relationship to be your average best friends. They’ve lived next door to each other all their lives, spend all of their free time together, and snuggle up to each other in the same bed at night. They’re practically a couple who have no friends outside of each other, and this comes off as extremely unhealthy. Now the idea of a no kiss list isn’t original in any fashion, and the film likes to think itself clever because of it, but it sometimes forgets to focus on its main theme of transitioning from childhood to adulthood and the effects of these changes on the pair’s relationship. And while it eventually gets to the point, the direction is all over the place and isn’t grounded in anything solid.
Release Date: September 18, 2015 | Director: Kristin Hanggi | Screenwriters: Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer | Cast: Victoria Justice, Pierson Fode, Matthew Daddario, Ryan Ward, Monique Coleman, Griffin Newman | Genre: Romance, Comedy | MPAA Rating: Not Rated