The Prom (2020) Review

Over long and Over Dramatic, this is a movie that tried hard to be relevant and entertaining, and was just pretty average at both.

Certificate: 12A

Director: Ryan Murphy

Screenwriter: Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin

Starring: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman

Genre: Comedy, Musical

Runtime: 130 Minutes

Rating: 2 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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A troupe of struggling, and obnoxious theatre performers take it upon themselves to invade a small, conservative town in Indiana after they learn that the local high school cancelled the prom because a young gay woman wanted to take her girlfriend as her date. They intend to use this cause as a means of gathering attention and notoriety for themselves, in a hope to garner support for their failing careers.

I think even worse than a bad movie is a disappointing movie. And for me this one was a big, fat disappointment. I am a huge lover of musicals, but while the song and dance element of this film was fine, if nothing particularly memorable, I had a lot of issues with the rest of the film that meant that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy it the way I had hoped.I was weary after seeing a few early reviews, but tried not to let that influence my feelings going in, but sadly I agree that this film just doesn’t hit the mark it’s aiming for.

Firstly, for a campy, cheesy musical comedy it is just far too long. A good 20-30 minutes could have been lost with a little tighter editing and nothing would really have been lost. I was shocked when I saw this film’s runtime. I guess they are trying to keep as close as possible to the original material, as this film is based on a stage production, and while I do think they managed to keep the important messages of the story, The film just didn’t need to be this long, and I found myself zoning out quite a few times.

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I am beginning to suspect that James Corden just doesn’t do anything for me. Outside of ‘Peter Rabbit’, I find very few of his performances very memorable or impressive. The only one I can really remember is ‘Cats’ and that is for all the wrong reasons. No one wants to be remembered for ‘Cats.’ The overtly stereotypically gay persona that Corden portrays is pretty outdated at this point and you would think that they could give him another defining character trait other than this to make him an interesting character. None of the Theatre members are likable, they are doing everything out of purely selfish desires, so right from the off you don’t like them, sure they go through the predictable development where they really start to believe in the cause, but I just never feel the connections between any of the cast.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. The story the film tells, buried underneath all the glitter, is a very relevant and important one that effects so many young adults around the world. So many people still feel they have to hide who they are and this film tries to encourage them to stand up for what they believe and to be themselves. There are some great emotional moments, and some of the musical numbers are pretty good. But there isn’t enough here for me to be able to recommend this whole heartedly.

Fans of Ryan Murphy’s ‘Glee’ and of Musical theatre in general will probably love this, but if you are already not hugely convinced by musicals, then this one really will not be for you.

‘The Prom’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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