The Prom

Netflix’s latest musical fights for equality for the LGBT community.

Ryan Murphy’s version of the Broadway musical “The Prom” is a silly, but strong and danceable Netflix movie that fights against the hatred toward the LGBT community. It’s silly when we see certain music numbers and awkward supporting characters, it’s strong when it wants tp express the pain of homosexuals and their environments and choices, and it’s danceable when we see the energetic and powerful show-stopping numbers.

You get star-studded leads by Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, among others, along with a new face named Jo Ellen Pellman, and you get a variety of colorful lighting and sincerely touching moments.

And given that it’s on Netflix, I can already tell it will be in the Top 10 list for days and weeks, depending on how many people see it. I should hope so.

The story involves a high school, where the PTA cancels its upcoming prom because a Lesbian teenager wants to bring her girlfriend. Word gets out to a group of down-on-their-lucky Broadway actors, and seeking to make a difference in order to give them publicity, they decide to help her fight the homophobia.

The unlucky actors consist of Streep and Corden (using an American accent) as acclaimed actors Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman, whose Eleanor Roosevelt play bombs on opening night; Andrew Rannells as a former sitcom star named Trent Oliver, who’s in between gigs, and Kidman as Angie Dickinson (named after you know who) quits her gig in “Chicago.”

Emma (Pellman) is the Lesbian teenager, who refuses to let the school label her an outcast. Her grandma (Mary Kay Place) took her in when her parents booted her out. Her principal (Keegan-Michael Key) is willing to stand up for her. And the closeted love of her life is Ashley (Ariana DeBose), the daughter of the homophobic head of the PTA (Kerry Washington making awkward moments).

The actors successfully bring the prom back on schedule, but unfortunately, she had been been bamboozled when the PTA makes two proms, one for the “normal” and the other basically for just Emma. The rest of the movie channels Emma’s relationship with Ashley, Barry’s mother (Tracey Ullman) kicking him out of her home because of his homosexuality, and Dee Dee’s love story with the principal.

“The Prom” has a flexible sense of humor with the funniest gags being Streep presenting her Tony Awards to a motel clerk in order to try to get a suite, and Corden realizing the main heroine shops at K-Mart instead of his preferred chain stores. Now, that I’m writing this, it almost reminds me of the “Downton Abbey” movie, where the staff shows the snobby royal staff how they run things. It’s fun the way those moments are handled, and the overall movie is fun.

I could do without some of its awkward moments, but I was entertained by how Murphy guides the actors in the numbers and their dramatic and comical situations. Streep and Corden both deliver the goods, while Pellman makes a fresh introduction, and Rannells’ best number takes place at the mall. I had fun with how he sings “Love Thy Neighbor” with the students and shoppers.

This film version overcomes its weakness, and inspires people of all genders and interests, and they need some love and entertainment.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Now Playing in Select Theaters and Streaming on Netflix

Categories: comedy, Drama, Musical

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