A lot of the charm from the first "To all the Boys" movie has worn off by "Part 2." The few characters with edge and potential to create conflict are largely defanged in this sequel. The kid sister has chilled out a bit and Peter's ex-girlfriend has become softer and even sympathetic. Also diminishing the conflict potential, Lana Condor's Lara Jean character is revealed to be more thinly written than we realized. This limits the movie's effectiveness. A character-driven story can only do so much when the character is underdeveloped. Throw in a plot that has such little advancement, a million and one forced musical queues, and we're left with a blander, less funny version of the original.
As you might have seen from the promos, another of Lara Jean's letters was delivered to an old crush of hers. This guy, John Ambrose, actually writes back. He clearly had feelings for her when the two were kids and he seemingly still does.
Lara Jean and the handsome John Ambrose end up volunteering at a retirement home together. Taken by his smile and their childhood connection, Lara Jean begins to wonder if Peter is the right fit for her. It doesn't help Peter's case that his ex-girlfriend constantly turns to him for support (her parents are separating), and his genuine kindness forbids him from turning her away. His behavior is defensible from a pure human decency standpoint, but it's reasonable to expect Lara Jean to be made a bit uncomfortable by watching her current boyfriend spend time with his former flame.
Lara Jean notices other red flags from Peter, like reading her a poem he didn't write and didn't explicitly claim to write, but he also didn't clearly say he didn't write it either. When he later fesses up, Lara Jean is disappointed and tad suspicious. Can she trust him? Lara Jean's insecurity as a first-time girlfriend and the influence from a resident at the retirement home (whose mindset is stuck in the swingin' 60s) both fuel her doubt in Peter. She wonders if John Ambrose is her true match. This is puzzling because the John Ambrose character is a perfectly nice, perfectly boring glass of warm milk. There's nothing alluring about him, and the actor playing him, Jordan Fisher, clearly has zero chemistry with Lana Condor.
Fortunately, Noah Centineo and Condor still click. Centineo does most of the heavy lifting, bringing to the table all his same effortless charisma and charm. Even when his character falters as boyfriend, he brings an unquestionable sincerity to his explanations and apologies. There's never any doubt that he's a good guy trying to do the right thing, even if he doesn't always know precisely what that is.
In the end, the movie is pretty watchable. Lara Jean's dad finds a potential love interest. Lara Jean's friend is quirky and fun. If you liked the first movie and can tolerate an assault of predictably placed popular songs meant to set the mood, you'll probably find this sequel to be Netflixable.