Last year, there was a performance from the Broadway musical, The Prom, which featured the first LBGTQ kiss during the Thanksgiving Parade. So of course, I was intrigued by this musical being brought to Netflix. The trailer shows the audience that not only will this be a musical, it will be loud, vibrant and cheesy. It tells the story of a girl named Emma who lives in Edgewater, Ind., and wants to go to prom with her secret girlfriend, Alyssa, but instead prom gets cancelled because the homophobic beliefs of the PTA members. This is inspired by the true story of Constance McMillan. The embellished part is Broadway actors, played by Meryl Streep, James Corden, Andrew Ranells, and Nicole Kidman, with failing careers, coming to Edgewater to help Emma’s cause for positive publicity.
I have read that James Corden “playing gay” as character Barry Glickman was homophobic, and I will say it was cringeworthy at times to watch this straight man’s stereotypically flamboyant performance. I also hated the scene where Barry gave Emma a makeover for prom. It seems unnecessary in 2020 to still give female protagonists makeovers by the end of the film. However, I did feel for Barry when he talked about his parents trying to make him go to conversion therapy and how he wasn’t able to have a good prom experience because of being gay. I just wish he had actually been played by a gay person and Barry didn’t do a Queer Eye style transformation on Emma. Just let her be butch!
Sure the movie was cheesy and Corden’s performance bordered on offensive, but I still enjoyed it. Sometimes you just need to watch a feel good musical with dance numbers, sequined outfits, rainbows, and homophobia being solved with a song and a dance. There were actually some great songs like Alyssa Greene and very emotional scenes that made me tear up. You will have to watch it to know these scenes, because I refuse to spoil it.