a colorful Ryan Murphy musical for Netflix.
A good musical can brighten the day of anyone who is not allergic to this genre. I have to confess that I was never particularly interested in when I started to become a fan of the cinema, especially since being a minor it unhinged me that people in the background started dancing without coming to mind in large numbers, but for a long time I have enjoyed myself more with this type of proposal, hence I really wanted to see ‘The Prom’, a film released this Friday, December 11 on Netflix.
Directed by Ryan Murphy, best known for his work on television series such as ‘Glee’ or ‘Ratched’, ‘The Prom’ is the leap to the big screen from a theatrical musical of the same name. Matthew Sklar, Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, with the latter two taking care of writing his jump to the cinema. With the additional incentive of having stars such as Nicole Kidman or Meryl StreepIt seemed to have everything to win me over, but when it comes down to it, we are facing a very colorful film that wants to emulate the spirit of the great Broadway musicals without succeeding.
It looks like but it is not
Songs end up being the great narrative engine of most musicals, having to evolve both the story and the characters through them. There is nothing wrong even in dispensing with the dialogue and focusing exclusively on the songs, although in the case of ‘The Prom’ that path is not followed, surely because then there would be several gaps that would tarnish the whole. However, in this film the songs prevail above all and there we find the first problem and not because of the issues in question.
Ryan Murphy was not the right director for this project. He may love musicals and his tendency to excess can be linked in a way to the bombast of Broadway musicals, but he lacks that harmony necessary for there to really be a progression in every number. It is as if I wanted to be as high as possible at all times, moving the camera non-stop to reinforce that feeling but without conveying the idea that you are trying to achieve something with it beyond enhancing its impact.
By this I don’t mean to say it’s horrible, but it does sound a lot more like a great musical than it really is. Obviously in the United States there is also much more “know-how” than in Spain, where ‘Explode Exploits’ simply did not measure up in this section due to the many good intentions it had, but in the case of ‘The Prom’ almost never everything fits. It is as if stimulating things are thrown in isolation, but they do not finish hitting each other.
Lights and shadows of ‘The Prom’
That also carries over to its cast, where one cannot question the acting talent of actresses like Kidman or Streep -with James Corden I do have some more problems, although usually he is someone who generates a certain antipathy, but that does not mean so that it is not the best choice for his character-, but when it comes to getting into the numbers, that something that he does have is missing Andrew Rannells, protagonist at the time of the exceptional ‘The Book of Mormon’ and that here also leads the only number of the entire film – I mean ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ – in which ‘The Prom’ really brushes with its fingers its objective , something that is largely due to him.
The rest comply with ample solvency in the spoken parts -especially Streep, who falls in luck with the most stimulating character of the show- and they do the trick when it comes time to sing, but that spark is missing, that magic that differentiates a moment you see and go to something else that sticks in your memory. ** It also doesn’t help that Kidman’s character disappears for a long time and you almost forget that he is in ‘The Prom’ … **
All this leads to it also working better when you opt for a more intimate cut with that romance between two teenage girls that at various times runs the risk of being crushed by excesses trying to emulate Broadway. It is not that that part of ‘The Prom’, which continues to be the axis without which everything else would not have been possible, can breathe enough, but it does provide that much-needed calm and emotion through a different route to give a greater unity to the final result.
‘The Prom’ entertains and there are enough talented people in front of the cameras to see it to the liking even though Murphy’s formal excesses weigh down the proposal somewhat. Of course, if you want a great musical, look elsewhere, because in this it seems more or less good but it does not get to be at any time.