Netflix’s new ‘The Prom’ movie is ‘gruelling’ and ‘hyperventilating’, say critics

I mean, it’s got James Corden in it so what do you expect?

Ryan Murphy’s new film The Prom dropped on Netflix today. While James Corden’s portrayal of a gay character has re-ignited the debate over whether straight actors should play gay roles, the musical has also been met with much wider criticism.

Yes, the reviews are absolutely savage, reminding us once again that the only thing featuring James Corden that’s acceptable to watch in December is the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special.

Here’s what the critics are saying.

What’s The Prom about?

Directed by Ryan Murphy – who surely has to be exhausted after literally just doing Ratched – The Prom is an adaptation of a musical by the same name, which in turn is about a musical.

Jo Ellen Pellman plays Emma Nolan, a high school student in Indiana who isn’t allowed to go to the prom because she’s gay.

In roll stars James Corden, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, big Broadway actors who try to grab headlines by taking on Emma’s cause.

Musical numbers ensue. The film has been praised for its championing of LGBTQ+ rights, but also criticised for Corden’s portrayal of a gay character.

Bad reviews also feature prominently in the film. And in a case of life imitating art, the real-life reviews are scathing.

the prom netflix

What are reviews of The Prom saying?

NME’s two-star review of the film calls it a “gruelling watch”, saying that – emotionally at least – it feels like the longest film of all time.

“Watching this musical feels, in more ways than one, like a prison sentence,” writes Ralph Jones. James Corden’s American accent gets a pasting, and while Meryl Streep’s performance is – shock – good, all in all NME says the film will make you feel bad.

Rolling Stone goes in with studs showing, saying “this hyperventilating, jazz-hands-seizure of a take on the material isn’t exactly doing it justice”. It calls James Corden’s performance “mincing, prancing, Cliff-Notes-on-camp”, but demurs on whether it’s a “genuine pinkface atrocity”.

The wonderfully savage review concludes saying: “This Prom is little more than High School Musical filtered through a dozen afterschool specials.”

The “shiny, bouncy, madly infectious” musical numbers are praised by Variety, which also heralds the film’s portrayal of how intolerance can stifle creativity.

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