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Prom Dates Hulu Review: Feels Exactly Like Prom

Two girls dance at prom in the Hulu film Prom Dates

Hulu’s Prom Dates starts out as your typical teenager rom-com, but are some funny jokes enough to save an average film?

Director: Kim O. Nguyen
Genre: Rom-Com, Coming of Age
Run Time: 86′
Streaming Release: May 3, 2024
Where to watch: Hulu / Disney+

Directed by Kim O Nguyen, Prom Dates is the latest coming-of-age romantic comedy to hit Disney+, or Hulu depending on where you are in the world. Upon seeing the trailer, I was immediately intrigued from Prom Dates, as the movie’s premise seemed to be based on the once-in-a-lifetime event of prom.

This concept has always seemed somewhat fictional and made up to those of us who did not grow up with this tradition that American teenagers seem to live and breathe for.

Prom Dates takes us back to high school, more specifically to prom night. Dreaded by some and idolized by others, prom is a key moment in many high schoolers’ lives. For our protagonists, Hannah (Julia Lester) and Jess (Antonia Gentry), it is the single most important moment of their high school careers, as back when they were kids, they made a pact to have the best prom ever. But prom night approaches and both Hannah and Jess break up with their dates just one day before prom. As the film begins, they only have one night to find new dates and stay true to their childhood promise.

The movie sets up its stakes very well: there is nothing that matters more in the world to our protagonists than prom night. Sure, it might seem silly, but in the film’s universe and the characters’ stories, it seems to make complete sense as the very foundation of their friendship. For others, it may only be prom night, but for Hannah and Jess it is a childhood dream. This immediately establishes how important the end goal of Prom Dates is no matter how little or irrelevant it may seem in real life.

The film does capture the awkwardness of high school very well. While many rom-coms tend to glorify the high school years and portray them as a lot more glamorous than what they actually are, this movie does not shy away from showing us the most awkward and complicated sides of being a teenager. Its jokes do not always land, but when they do, Prom Dates is quite funny, and that is mostly thanks to the actors who immerse themselves in their roles, making most of their lines believable. Julia Lester as Hannah and Kenny Ridwan as Greg, her boyfriend at the beginning of the film, particularly stand out with their physical comedy and line delivery.

Julia Lester holds a letter looking at Kenny Ridwan, who looks back at her smiling in the Hulu film Prom Dates
Kenny Ridwan and Julia Lester in Prom Dates (Disney / Brett Roedel)

Overall, Prom Dates is very forgettable. The characters have little to no depth, which makes their relationships feel very surface-level too. By the time the film ends, we know very little about either Hannah or Jess, or about their friendship at all. While the film focuses on the girls’ quest to find the perfect date for prom, it seems to forget the most interesting element of the entire story: Hannah and Jess’ friendship. We do see them clash and struggle as the plot goes on, but this would have been a lot more impactful if the audience actually witnessed how much the protagonists mean for each other and how important their friendship presumably is.

This movie felt very much like what I imagine prom to be: something that starts out with high expectations and gradually becomes more and more average as the night goes on. Prom Dates is definitely not the movie of the year, but I still had fun watching it. If you are a fan of the genre, you might enjoy Nguyen’s latest movie, with its sometimes funny jokes and use of rom-com tropes. It probably won’t change your life and it admittedly has some faults in its storytelling and narrative, but it is still enjoyable for a movie night with friends.

Prom Night is now available to watch globally on Hulu and Disney Plus.

Prom Dates: Trailer ()

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