“We have come to show this community that gay people, and gay positive icons such as myself, are made of the same flesh and blood as they are.”
It’s getting to be that time again, or it would be if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic. The boys in their tuxes and the girls in their dazzling dresses. This is one of the steps in the swan song sung to the last days of high school. But in the air of our current political climate, slander being sprayed from different ways, The Prom examines the fight to attend the dance with the person you love.
The Prom introduces us to Dee Dee Allen (Meryl Streep) and Barry Glickman (James Corden). These two actors have seen their share of success on Broadway, but their newest play, Eleanor!, based on in famous Eleanor Roosevelt, has ruffled some feathers. The papers slam the new musical saying that Dee Dee and Barry are too self-involved to convey such a historical figure to the masses. The duo must shed the negative light they have created for themselves. So with the help of their friends, Angie Dickinson (Nicole Kidman) and Trent Oliver (Andrew Rannells), the crew head to Indiana in order to help a young girl, Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman), take her girlfriend to prom. What ensues is a small town transforming itself through music, dance, and shimmering lights! All this, as the group fights off the heavy-handed rulings of the school’s PTA president, Mrs. Greene (Kerry Washington).
The hand clapping, toe tapping, music that goes along with each scene in The Prom doesn’t add much in comparison to the plethora of films that flood this genre. None of the performances really shine through the overabundance of music and lavish costumes. Meryl Streep, as we all know, is one of a kind, but her performance as Dee Dee is only okay. Her co-stars don’t pull much of the weight as James Corden plays a gay actor who’s still at odds with his parents after running away from home when he was 16. It puzzles me as to why Corden is playing a gay actor in the first place when Corden himself is straight. Especially, for a film that takes an empowering stance on being comfortable with onesself. The one person I wanted to see more from was Nicole Kidman’s, Angie. Kidman has done so much to rub elbows with the best of Broadway’s elite — appearing in various musicals. However, her time on screen is short lived, with sadly only one significant musical number.
The musical doesn’t become stagnant, necessarily, but it does become heavily repetitive. It’s an endless cycle between Emma’s situation, the actors trying to take center stage in “helping,” and the evil PTA figure who tries to stop it any way she can. It’s a bit too cookie cutter — a magical world where the good guys win, and love triumphs overall. It’s not a bad thing to have a positive ending, especially with this subject matter. But because of its simple ending, I can’t classify The Prom as a good movie, or even a fun one. The performances are forgetful and the music goes in one ear and out the other. Is The Prom a “guilty pleasure”… maybe, but nothing more than that.
Directed by: Ryan Murphy
Starring: Meryl Streep, James Cordon, Nicole Kidman, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose, Jo Ellen Pellman, and Kerry Washington