Check your cynicism at the door before attending The Prom, a teen coming-out tale stuffed into a glitzy tux and bedazzled with schmaltz and splashy musical numbers. If you do, you'll be rewarded with 132 minutes of undemanding and giddily self-aware entertainment.
The all-star cast looks to be having a blast barging into rooms, scarves billowing, belting tongue-in-cheek lyrics about setting the cow-tipping Midwest folk straight and sharing the true message of Christianity. Don't fear: The film forces the pompous New York libs to face their biases too.
Leave it to Indianapolis-born director Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, to pay gently teasing tribute to the deep human necessity for the arts, the empathy-creating nature of high school drama clubs, and the ultimately good folks of Indiana (especially the moms) and Broadway all in one film.
The Prom serves as a golden-hued showcase for Streep and Corden, who primp, strut, sing, dance and convincingly emote in scenes where their characters are obliged to reckon with their own shortcomings and pasts. Kidman oddly fades into the background in a subdued performance that may be fitting for her role as the long-overlooked chorus girl but feels less intentional than that. Key, Pellman, Washington, and the multifaceted Rannells all have their own starring moments or big numbers.
As its many wink-wink lyrics suggest, this film knows some will suffer it like choking on a "syrup-soaked American flag." Others will welcome the escape from a more contentious reality to this fictionally wholesome place where people randomly break into song, unquestioningly dance in unison, and all just get along.
Read the full review on Common Sense Media.