‘The Prom’ a fun, colorful, bombastic musical

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It may not be a Christmas movie, but “The Prom” on Netflix is still a big, glorious and gay musical the whole family can enjoy this holiday season.

Full of big songs, big dance numbers and a really important message, “The Prom” is a classic movie musical with a lot of modern twists. There is some controversy swirling around the casting choices in the film, but they don’t detract from an otherwise enjoyable experience.

“The Prom” is definitely worth a watch if you’re looking for a heart-warming musical evening.

Adapted from the Broadway show, “The Prom” is about a group of has-been Broadway stars who are feeling down in the dumps after their latest show tanked. They then see a story online about a small town in Indiana that has cancelled its high school prom rather than let a lesbian student take a same sex partner to the dance.

Deciding this would be a great PR move for them, the stars take the magic of Broadway to small-town Indiana to get this girl a prom.

Right off the bat, “The Prom” is as classic as movie musicals get. It’s got a cast of fun characters with big personalities, it’s got a lot of heart at its core, and it’s filled to the brim with musical numbers both big and small. There wasn’t anything so catchy that it’s stuck in my head, but the songs work in the moment and liven up the film.

The story is also very important. It’s another movie with a story about acceptance and standing up to bigotry, and that message never gets old. That it’s told in a fun, colorful, bombastic musical is just plain cool. There are also plenty of dramatic and emotional scenes to give the message a lot of punch.

The cast of the film is great. Newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman is fantastic as the young girl at the heart of the story. You really buy her struggles and want to see her happy. Same with her secret girlfriend, played by Ariana DeBose, who has her own troubles to wrestle with.

The stars of the film are a bunch of big names, including Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Keegan-Michael Key, all of whom give great performances. They’re an enjoyable ensemble. The one standout, for the wrong reasons, is James Corden, a prominent stage actor and current late night TV host.

I thought Corden did a fine job in the movie. The problem is that he is a straight actor playing a gay character and leaning heavily into stereotypes. He plays the character as flamboyantly as if this movie were shot in the 1980s. Now, granted, the character is flamboyant in the stage show, but this is one of those cases where the filmmakers probably should have hired a gay actor. There are plenty available, some in this very film. And it’s not like James Corden is a household name.

If you’ve ever wondered why people make a big deal about the need to cast minority actors in minority roles, James Corden in “The Prom” is a very good example.

But if you can look past that casting controversy, “The Prom” is still a very enjoyable, very lively and hugely entertaining musical with a very important message.

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