Every person exclusively attached to this film adaptation of The Prom does wonderful work for the most part. Streep does her thing, salting and chewing the scenery as a Patti LuPone-esque diva in search of a soul. I’m even going to give props to Corden, who swiftly makes the transition from TV personality to leading man. Sadly, Kidman is slotted in the type of role that keeps making you ask, “Oh wait, she’s in this?” She is given little to do other than play second fiddle and pops up when needed. Then there’s Andrew Rannells as Trent. It’s as if the writers looked at the plot for holes and used his presence to patch them. Rannells is, without question, a force of talent and an icon in the Queer community. But this part wastes his talents.
I need to point out the painfully forced art direction that shouts from the screen rather than complimenting the totality. Each yellow is the same yellow, each magenta, the same magenta. Lighting, costuming, makeup, it’s all perfectly consistent. Conformist much? They must have put their poor colorist through the paces on this one. It’s solid work but rigidly uniform to the point of being wrong. Director Ryan Murphy‘s eye for aesthetics is impeccable, but the symmetrical shots paired with spot-on colors and the feel-good message where everything is right makes this reviewer particularly unsettled. Call it the Stepford effect.
“Streep does her thing, salting and chewing the scenery…”
According to a number of sources, the original Broadway production of The Prom ran less than a year and never recovered its 13 million dollar investment. Sinking what looks to be twice the amount of money (I could be totally wrong as financials have not been released) for a run that could potentially hit the majority of homes across the US with a message of acceptance and inclusion is unquestionably noble and perfectly in line with Ryan Murphy‘s canon of work. It’s just a bit much for those of us sitting in the front row.
No, the real torpedo that sank this ship was that the source material wasn’t all that good, to begin with. The Prom‘s screenplay by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, based on their musical book written with Matthew Sklar, is a story that plays to those who are still iffy on the Gays. Sure, it’s good for the tourists that hit Broadway, leaving them with a sweet message, a trite tune, and a little to think about. But without a message that is challenging or music that is hummable, well… at least things are headed in the right direction.
"…nobody likes a narcissist."