Anyway, onto the review. After the Ball is a teen comedy that looks to splice together elements of The Devil Wears Prada, Cinderella and even Twelfth Night; though Willy Shakespeare would no doubt be turning in his grave if he knew his work was being abused to this extent.
The narrative concerns budding fashion designer Kate Kassell (Doubleday) who takes a job at her father’s clothing line after failing to secure one on her own merit due to her father’s reputation for stealing designs. Things go from bad to worse when Katie arrives, as her evil step-mother (Holly) and her two daughters (Natalie Krill, Anna Hopkins) take an instant dislike to her. The wicked trio then proceed to frame Kate for leaking designs and she is subsequently fired from Daddy’s company.
In a plan devised by her Godmother (Mimi Kuzyk), Kate agrees to pose as male designer named Nate, in an attempt to infiltrate her father’s company. The male disguise allows Kate to be independent and confident (which in itself is a glaring issue), and she works her way up to star designer. There is also a bumbling subplot concerning a conventionally handsome designer (Grondin) at the company, who Kate quite fancies. Honestly, this film is every bit as predictable as it sounds with no real effort to inform, let alone entertain
For a film concerned with depicting the fashion industry, they do a good job of making it look shallow and imbecilic. In the first ten minutes, we see our protagonist not run, but FLY, away from her problems, before bumping into a door and falling over numerous times. The rest of the characters hardly get better treatment. It’s as if Walter Lippmann coined the phrase ‘stereotype’ for exactly this type of portrayal of one-dimensional, tedious shells of human beings. There’s the plotting step-mother, the absent father, the evil sisters, and almost every single male (except father and love interest) is presented as OVERTLY camp, as if no heterosexual male could ever be interested in fashion.
The film is also bloated with a consumerist, materialistic fetishism as lines like “I want that dress” or “what a cute hat, that’s so brave” are uttered without anyone batting an eyelid. Ultimately, if you want to choke on a narrative that is rife with clichés and devoid of any real moral message then stick After The Ball on, if not, there are surely more productive things you can do… Such as watching paint dry.
AFTER THE BALL / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: SEAN GARRITY / SCREENPLAY: JASON SHERMAN, KATE MELVILLE / STARRING: PORTIA DOUBLEDAY, MARC-ANDRÉ GRONDIN, CHRIS NORTH, LAUREN HOLLY / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 1ST