Right off the top two things – 1) Ryan Murphy is one of the most productive people working in the film/television business today. The amount of films/series he churns out is second to none. 2) One of the rare Ryan Murphy films/series in which Sarah Paulson is not in. Moving on to the review…
Based on the Broadway music, The Prom features a simple story with a positive message which provides enough gaps to allow a ton of fun songs. That being said, while the music is rather good, the film portion is not up to snuff.
After another musical that they are the stars in closes after opening night, self-absorbed Broadway stars Dee Dee Allen (Meryl Streep – Out of Africa, Into the Woods) and Barry Glickman (James Corden – from television’s Gavin & Stacey) join forces with chorus girl Angie Dickinson (Nicole Kidman – Bombshell, Lion) and struggling actor/barman Trent Olivers (Andrew Rannells – Sex and the City 2, The Intern) band together to bring up their reputations. They want to do something which will make them seem likable in the hopes of getting jobs again on Broadway.
They decide to take up a cause. Not a big one, as that would be too much work, but a small one which will bring them some positive publicity. Angie sees a story on Twitter about a girl in a small town in Indiana who was not allowed to attend prom with her girlfriend. Broadway to the rescue!
The conservative town, especially leader of the PTA Mrs. Greene (Kerry Washington – from television’s Scandal), is not ready for the flair and style of Broadway. Soon the entire prom is cancelled making everyone unhappy.
This is a really talented cast with the living legend that is Streep along with Washington, Oscar winner Kidman, a small appearance by Tracy Ullman (Bullets Over Broadway, Corpse Bride), and even comedy star Keegan-Michael Key (Dolemite is My Name, Toy Story 4), but unfortunately what they are given to bring to life, for the most part, is not up to their talents. Instead it is a pile of cliches and predictable moments.
Unfortunate as buried within all this is a rather important message. This was another moment in which the pizzazz of Broadway could bring something important to the people. All wrapped up in song and dance. It can be done. It has been done. Even within the dancing, laughs and song you can have poignant moments. None of quality were found here. For that I blame Ryan Murphy. He can do better. He has done better.
I did enjoy the music. There were plenty of good numbers/songs here. Catchy and fun. Filled with the requisite glitz and glamour. Almost all the songs worked except for the takeoff of All that Jazz from Chicago with Nicole Kidman. It fell flat. Though it was the only one which did not work. The rest did the job of serving and amplifying the story.