HITMAKER Ryan Murphy has only gone and done it again. Recruiting a handful of Hollywood’s biggest names, the man behind Glee, American Horror Story and Ratched now presents The Prom. Bar one or two misgivings, it’s rather lovable.

Based on the 2018 musical of the same name - from Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin - The Prom tells the story of four has-been Broadway legends, who travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana to help a lesbian student who has been banned from bringing her girlfriend to prom. What’s worse, it’s her own mother that’s spearheading the objections.

If the parts their playing reek of faded fame, there’s no question that the cast remain in their prime. We open to find Dee Dee Allen (Meryl Streep) and Barry Glickman (James Corden) wilting in Manhattan after the failure of their Eleanor Roosevelt opening to catch light. Critics slam their self-absorbed inability to understand the characters they play.

Determined to rebrand their image with a headline grabbing story, Dee Dee and Barry team up with life long chorus girl Angie Dickinson (Nicole Kidman) and failed Juilliard graduate Trent Oliver (Andrew Rannells) to bring liberalism to conservative America. Just watch for the moment they burst into a fierce meeting with the bold line: ‘We are liberals from Broadway!’

At the centre of it all, Jo Ellen Pellman is a real find for Murphy, playing beleaguered young woman Emma Nolan. Her girlfriend is Ariana DuBois’ Alyssa Greene and mother a battleaxe turn for Kerry Washington. It’s all very black and white, on the nose material but hard not to warm to. Streep is clearly having a ball and Kidman is superb. Only Corden lets the side down, with a surprisingly backward turn as a gay man from stereotypes past. That Murphy is a champion of equality and fair representation just adds to the confusion.

Such flaws are flattened however by the sheer relentlessness of the film’s glittery razzmatazz. There’s an emotional heart here but all around it is too loud and proud to determine whether it is true. Big musical numbers and a big budget make for entertainment of the sort that only comes this time of year. Reviews may prove divisive but you can bet that the public will love it.

Released in cinemas today, The Prom is also available to watch on Netflix.