Let’s face it: Broadway’s The Prom was a mediocre musical – at best. So director Ryan Murphy wisely loaded the Indiana high-school girl’s plea for inclusion and love with the best cinematic talent available.
The plot was actually inspired by real events. In a small, conservative town in Indiana, Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman) is forbidden to take her ‘secret’ girl-friend Alyssa (Ariana DeBose) to the prom.
When her dilemma is reported on Twitter, four Broadway stars – who are suffering from their own recent rejections – travel from New York to the Midwest try to garner favorable personal publicity by protesting on her behalf.
There’s narcissistic De Dee Allen (Meryl Streep), a Tony-winning diva, who has spent years wallowing in self-absorption, along with flamboyantly fey Barry Glickman (James Corden). They’re joined by Trent (Andrew Rannells), an actor/bartender who flaunts his Julliard credentials, and Angie (Nicole Kidman), an aging Fosse chorus-girl who yearns to play Roxie Hart in “Chicago.”
Playing Dee Dee as though she’s Patti LuPone, Meryl Streep is hilarious, but – for me – Nicole Kidman is perfection personified, proving once again that she’s one of the screen’s most exciting and versatile actresses.
Working from a splashy screen adaptation, co-written by Bob Martin and lyricist Chad Beguelin with a score by Matthew Sklar, Ryan Murphy (Glee) delivers sequin-studded caricatures, rather than empathetic characters.
Even more curious than the casting of heterosexual James Cordon as a gay icon was choosing Kerry Washington, who lacks any sense of comedic timing, to play Alyssa’s smugly bigoted mother/PTA president Mrs. Greene, proclaiming, “This isn’t America; this is Indiana. This is about big government taking away our freedom of choice.”
Keep an eye out for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the screen adaptation of a London stage hit, set for release in early 2021. It’s a comparable concept except there’s more focus on the angst-riddled teenagers.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Prom is a feather-weight, flawed and forgettable 5 – proving it’s possible to be brazenly bland.the prom –