Under the affected spectacle of “The promIs a relatively compelling premise: a handful of contactless New Yorkers – no, Broadway actors – descend into a small town under the guise of spreading progressive politics. As an outline for questions about how celebrities work in the 21st century, how politics is becoming more of a form of branding and personalization than a practice embedded in the lives of the people they beat and whether indeed elites on the east coast do knows better, “The Prom” had an out with its satire. The Broadway musical with a book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, Music of Matthew Sklarand Beguelin’s lyrics were a show that could get away with naive politics and its often misguided seriousness because it was effective and, for most of its runtime, a smart enough satire about what activism and actor celebrity are at its core, bizarre bedfellows . And in Ryan MurphyFilming for NetflixThe show’s shortcomings seem to be accentuated, and the spectacle too poorly managed to distract that the sincerity of “The Prom” isn’t necessarily screen-cut, or at least not in that form.
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Even if “The prom has a very “musical tweens only” vibe, its blinking confidence would serve to at least neutralize the vague TikTok-level jar of its blinking moments. A rogue gallery of confident New Yorkers – Dee Dee (Meryl Streep), Barry (James Corden), Angie (Nicole Kidman) and Trent (Andrew Rannells) – agree even in town as unlikely narcissists, finding themselves in a dubious game to change public opinion by sluggishly transferring liberal politics to their public identity, Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman) in Indiana, who is at the center of a local controversy for getting a girl to prom and being the only lesbian in her school. Who better to do a pet project regardless of their willingness to take part in a publicity stunt?
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Well, The is the joke right? So are the simple calls to attention that even the leads expect from the home audience. But when Streep and Corden in particular vie for our worship, the self-reflective joke takes on an uncomfortably desperate tone and one that doesn’t feel part of the text. Streep played a drag version of Streep himself for over a decade, relying on bad habits, scratchy tics, and heavy sighs that speak less to the character than someone under a different costume they barely thought of. Streep is playing a vague, imprecise idea of a stage star whose luster is fading, a performance so archetypal that you can pair it with Maggie Thatcher and Florence Foster Jenkins. Aside from a few specific moments, Streep doesn’t seem to be channeling anyone or anything, not even the low hanging fruits of the bursts of light Patti LuPone (complete with cell phone incident namedrop). Corden, whose friendliness feels like a cheat, suits Gayface. While he mostly slips off the downright annoyance, the character’s aggressive show manner has an unusual void. There’s a limit to how much you can handle over two hours of flatlining jokes about how uncultivated Indiana must be that doesn’t register in Streeps and Corden’s mouth as pointed enough to be confident and satirical. They are supposed to be “improbable”, sure, but not unbearable.
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These are famous people big enough to make the satire of “The Prom” safe, whose reach and career are fertile ground for questioning their own relationship with politics as a brand identity. However, it’s only Nicole Kidman who seems to get both the strange tone of the show and the strange questions. When the choir girl, who has not yet been called to meet Roxie in “Chicago“Kidman’s performance is unconscious, of course stupid. Her face turns to an ‘O’ in horror when someone is rejected. She says with a croak,” Let’s see what’s trending, “while pulling out her phone to check out Twitter, and does this very seriously. she makes jazz hands and Fosse The shoulder snaps like someone who is good at it, like Angie would be. Kidman, who might as well have walked away with the movie, seems to have wandered on set and made himself completely at home because he instinctively knew what was silly and what was satirical.
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But the rest of the film’s uncertainty with its tone (which was admittedly inherited from the show) is a familiar flaw in Murphy’s work. There are enough scenes of teenagers dancing in the halls to make someone a real jaw for the days of “glee,” but with that nostalgic memory one also needs to be reminded of the whiplash of tones, styles and directions that Murphy helped create in 2009. Era teen musical took. This show, too, switched uncomfortably between satire and after-school special and immediately strived for it Alexander Payne-ian heights with its elevators “choice”Recognizable in lead Lea MicheleNarcissistic cutthroat ambition and Jane LynchThe sour jubilation trainer as well as the sweeter program for the youth, the scent of “Full house“Then during one of his mélange of” songs to sum up the lessons of the episode “scenes. And here on” The Prom “what was once very amusing has problems landing. Its once broad stage humor has been underestimated, broken off or could not function outside of a packed matinee. Without ever really creating an appropriate or readable framework for his musical sequences (is this fantasy? is this naturalism? is the indoor monologue? is this the tricky Broadway commercial labeling of every teenager’s aspiration aesthetic? ), “The Prom’s” are the most serious moments, exaggerated beyond their means, so confident in its sugary-sweet sincerity that it suffocates.
Perhaps more frustrating than his recurring problems with sound is, frankly, his camerawork. With cinematography from Matthew LibatiqueMurphy is drawn to creating a spectacle (in powder blue and noxious pink) but doesn’t know how to locate it or how to ground it in any particular way. That is not to say that imagination cannot be random and joyful, but even in that context there is a topographical place from which it originated. A movie usually invites you to develop your own sense of logic. “The Prom” doesn’t have one. Slide cameras and floating lenses miss out on some of the cooler dance moments in songs like “You Happened” and “Zazz” (as a counterpoint to this Fosse-inspired scene, see “Everything Old is New Again” in Fosses “All that jazz“). The opportunity to establish a dialogue between small-town modesty and big-city surplus is missed during a makeover scene on Tonight Belongs to You. Occasional blossoming (look at your hands when bullies are “posing like that”) acts like a stab in the torch. However, there is no explanation as to why so many music numbers are recorded as if the camera is trying to avoid or bypass the dancers. (Some of its false glitters are reminiscent of the adaptation of “The producers. ”) Murphy’s camera seems just as motivated by flawed ideas (teenagers! Dancing! Gay teenagers!) As its stars. But so much time has passed since Murphy became a TV giant that it’s strange that The Prom’s take on gayness still feels naive after the adjustment.
Part of the show’s weird tension arguably is whether its gay politics are actually curious (admittedly, the show premiered in Georgia in 2016) or whether its audience is likely to come from a not dissimilar social, ideological bubble starring (They Attract) me doesn’t have to be in New York to have liberal views. This is a symbol of the island’s political position, which it easily criticizes. Not every place is as radical as left-wing gay crap posters on Twitter, no matter in the West Village, and while the respectable ambition of a fun gay musical for the youth is not lacking, it is a film that comes out less ambitious and more chaste and wetter than “Glee” some of its most chaotic. Emma herself is not leaned towards the spotlight, a character that serves as a foil for the film’s very aesthetic trademarks. And that’s not bad, but it requires a different type of film (or script as a whole) with a different sensitivity. His simplicity and inability to reconcile himself with the conflicting emotional and aesthetic techniques of his leading actors (despite the gestures towards a more interesting film) hold him back.
You could call “The Prom” a kind of “glee” redux, cut off from its sharp bite, more chaotic inconsistency, and backstage drama. Finally, whether we like it or not, “Glee” gave young people a crude vocabulary with which to articulate questions of identity politics and personal truth. “The Prom” could be seen as a homecoming of sorts for Ryan Murphy, a chance to correct some of the evils of the earlier hit, which was created with a story included so the chance of getting off the rails is less. Although in some of his work it is clear that Murphy’s policies have evolved or changed or deepened over time (a gay hairdresser in “AHS: Apocalypse“Denounces the same values that two gay domestic workers use in”AHS: Murder House“), Murphy’s Netflix oeuvre may contradict a rapidly changing discourse about weirdness, queer media, and, as suggested in the film, how queer politics may or may not have material effects in art. He branded himself with this idea, like shows like “pose” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime StoryHave shown him that he is able to research queer life in detail and to turn queer politics as a mainstream author into a viable identity. If “The Prom” is actually related to “Glee,” a direct descendant for a softer audience, it’s so strange that a movie whose emotional core is bravery seems to be so afraid to use the vocabulary and to revise that “Glee” was there. [C-]
“The Prom” will be streamed on Netflix on December 4th.