The heterosexual late night host plays an openly gay Broadway actor named Barry Glickman, who describes himself as “gay as a bucket of wigs,” in the Ryan Murphy-directed film adaptation of the Broadway musical. The movie doesn’t come out in select theaters until Dec. 4 and on Netflix on Dec. 11, but some of the critics who’ve seen it are already deeming Corden’s turn “offensive” and “horrifically bad.”
That last phrase could also be used to summarize the reviews knocking Corden. Despite that, the overall movie has earned positive reviews: a 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 43 opinions.
The negative takes on Corden cited the fact that he plays a flamboyant character.
The main, and huge, drawback is James Corden. His performance is gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It's horrifically bad. https://t.co/av5W0SlxFX
— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) November 29, 2020
I wanted to love The Prom and it moved me, for sure, but the casting of James Corden just derails a *lot* of it. More thoughts here. https://t.co/EP3sjGSMKm
— Ian Sandwell (@ian_sandwell) December 1, 2020
I wasn't the only one cringing over James Corden in THE PROM: https://t.co/Cuokdxg4NQ
"It's a massive problem to have Corden in gay-face" @Telegraph
"He camps it up to the point of being regressive and offensive." @digitalspy
"Corden's performance is insulting." @VanityFair pic.twitter.com/q86qM7ygm5
— Zack Sharf (@ZSharf) December 2, 2020
I am saying no to this particular promposal https://t.co/rqhjabXiKO
— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) December 1, 2020
And critics weren’t only ones voicing their displeasure with the casting choice. Moviegoers complained that having a straight man in the part felt “gross.”
It’s the way James Corden is playing a walking stereotype of a gay man in The Prom and the jokes constantly take a jab at musical theatre gays. Jokes that, Coming from a straight man, feel gross.
— anthony 🎄 (@ArmsOfAnthony) December 3, 2020
I thought Prom was really fun, but every time J*mes C*rden was on screen I was so frustrated. It really makes no sense to me why he was hired. Please try to hire gay actors for gay roles. ✌️❤️ https://t.co/sSneOCVObv
— Danny Pellegrino (@DannyPellegrino) December 1, 2020
Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to Corden, Netflix and LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD and will update with any responses.
The movie co-stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Keegan-Michael Key in a story about a lesbian teenager in a small Indiana town whose school cancels the prom rather than allow her to attend with her girlfriend. Broadway stars descend on the area to rally behind the teen, Emma (played by newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman).
Corden’s earlier acting work include voiceovers in the movies Trolls and Peter Rabbit. He also appeared in the live-action, female reboot Ocean’s Eight in 2018, the 2014 musical Into the Woods and in last year’s big screen version of Cats.
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