“Prom Dates” Movie Review (2024): A Superficial Teen Drama With A Sober Ending

Prom Dates Movie Review 2024
Prom Dates Movie Review 2024

Directed by Kim O Nguyen, “Prom Dates” is a newly released teen romantic comedy on Hulu produced by Kevin Hart. This teen flick stars Antonia Gentry and Julia Lester in lead roles, along with other familiar faces such as Zión Moreno and John Michael Higgins, who play funny side characters. The show depicts two best friends who face all of the anticipation and jitters leading up to prom night. Their shenanigans bring in many laughs along the way, too. It is available to stream on Hulu and Disney+ Hotstar.

The Story

The movie starts with a dramatic moment: Best friends Hannah and Jess make a bloody pact to have the best senior prom ever by cutting their palms and promising. But things go south when they end up needing stitches in the ER because of an accident. Fast forward a few years, and things are not going according to plan. Jess is dating Luca just because he’s popular and can make them prom royalty. Unfortunately, Luca is pretty self-absorbed and constantly puts others down, especially Hannah. On the other hand, Hannah gets asked to prom in a big, humiliating way by her boyfriend Greg in front of everyone at school. But here’s the kicker: she’s secretly gay, and nobody knows except for herself—not even Jess. Sometimes we have to give up some parts of ourselves if we want something better for our future.

Of course, everything starts falling apart from there. Jess catches Luca cheating on her while Hannah breaks up with Greg, leaving them both without dates with only two days until prom. So naturally, they decide to crash parties at Rutgers University nearby since that seems like the logical thing to do when you’re a teenager with no plans for prom night. They end up at Vodka Heather’s crazy party, where chaos ensues along with some skeevy guys making moves on them both.

Now, let’s explore a few significant twists: Hannah falls in love with a confident girl named Angie but is afraid that she has lost her opportunity. Greg continues to pursue Hannah, adding difficulty to the situation. Jess may be interested in a football player despite his low intelligence. However, Jess also has a major secret: once upon a time, she slept with Jacob, who happens to be Hannah’s brother; this type of treachery spells trouble in teenage movies and guarantees heaps of drama!

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Directional and Technical Aspects

Anna Jacobson and Rachel Wolson, the directors of “Prom Dates,” have created an animated and lively atmosphere. They bring high school to life with youthful vibrancy, capturing all the anxieties and thrills of the senior year. In keeping with the characters’ pace, handheld shots are used for emotional peaks, while broader angles accompany funny moments.

Although it does not break any visual barriers, the show effectively employs split screens for phone calls or comparing situations. Soundtracks were chosen well; these mixes of popular songs and underground hits enhance what is seen on screen, making teenagers feel more real.

The beginning of “Prom Dates” is all fine and good. Luca and Jess, as well as Hannah and Greg, don’t seem to click well together. Jess and Hannah feel desperate to leave and find better situations. The movie focuses on how young people today feel aware of their flaws because of social media. Even though the situations seem normal at first, they turn really weird, like when Jess meets a cannibal while looking for a prom date. Greg’s story is funny too. The writing is good for all ages, not just young people. But the last part of the movie isn’t as good. It tries to be touching but slows down the movie too much.

The direction, editing, and cinematography are good for a teen flick. Kim O. Nguyen doesn’t take big risks but uses what she has well. For example, Greg’s prom proposal with bananas looks believable, even though it’s a bit over the top. The stripper scene stands out with its cool lighting and effects. It’s not super gory, but it’s realistic and funny. Kim handles Hannah’s queerness well, too. If the last part of the movie was better, it would be perfect.

Actors’ Performance

The whole ensemble in Prom Dates is awesome! Julia Lester is super funny and talented. She’s great at showing emotions with her face, body, and words. And when she needs to be serious, she’s still amazing. I think she and her character will help lots of LGBTQ+ kids feel accepted. Antonia Gentry is great in the movie. She shows her character’s fake confidence and how she’s struggling inside. Her friendship with Lester seems real, and the chemistry between the two friends is pretty visible. Kenny Ridwan does a great job playing Hannah’s clingy boyfriend. He makes sure his character, Greg, is never boring. JT Neal plays a calm character really well. Zion Moreno is as unforgettable as Vodka Heather. And Patty Guggenheim is great in her short part.

Audience Appeal

The reach of teen drama movies like “Prom Dates” is wide. Even adults can watch, enjoy, and get a few laughs in over popcorn. However, high schoolers may like the setting of prom night and funny conversations the most. This being said, the movie’s story about people connecting is heartwarming, and anyone can enjoy it. This movie isn’t very groundbreaking with its typical coming-of-age plot; however, the production is good, and it’ll entertain you for the most part.

Ultimately, what has always been such an endearing quality about these types of films was how they managed to captivate audiences regardless of their age through lightheartedness mixed with relatability, so too does “Prom Dates” have all these elements necessary for charming everyone who watches it with its comedy relief acting performances coupled together with a with a fun plot line.

Final Thoughts

“Prom Dates” sets a nice pace in the beginning. In the first ten minutes, it plunges into the characters’ crises and keeps going until the end. The movie does have some typical plot twists, but there are some refreshing choices as well. It is charming due to the chemistry between the leads, which also fits perfectly for prom season because it’s about friendship and love. The one thing that could’ve elevated the movie a lot more was if it had more plot and depth to Jess and Hannah’s friendship.

The energy also died in the end, even if the beginning looked promising. However, “Prom Dates” wraps things up at the end pretty nicely. So all in all, I’d say that The Prom Date is good for a laugh with its timely humor, but it’s a pretty forgettable film. Lester and Gentry are such a winning team; you can’t help but enjoy watching them work together throughout this movie! 

The story is formulaic, and Mausner adheres to it very strictly and predictably. It’s a bummer when something comes between characters who are so good together—like the ones in this movie—because then the story loses its zing.

Prom Dates tries to update the ‘80s and ‘90s funny movies set in high schools, which is a great idea, and these jokes are great too. This movie doesn’t do anything with that potential, though, and falls back on a cookie-cutter plot.