Another in a long line of parodies, remakes, retellings, and revivals of the of Cinderella, After the Ball is a modern story inspired by the classic fairy tale.
Kate Kassell (Portia Doubleday) wants nothing more than to design clothing for a couture fashion house. Upon graduation, however, it’s apparent that despite her talent and degree, her pedigree is going to hold her back. Her father (Chris Noth) owns Kassell Clothing – known more for taking “inspiration” from competitors than coming up with original designs.
With nowhere else to turn, Kate accepts her estranged father’s job offer, only to be placed under the control of manipulative step mother (Lauren Holly) and conniving yet clueless step sisters (Natalie Krill and Anna Hopkins). Seeing her as a threat to their reign, her step family arranges Kate’s employment to be short lived, setting her up for failure. Determined to win her father back, put her enemies in their place, and restore Kassel to its former glory, Kate devises an unlikely plan. With a little help from her godmother (Mimi Kuzyk), she transforms into Nate, a spunky gay man who has no trouble impressing everyone at her former job. Complications assuredly arise, especially concerning her prince charming, shoe designer Daniel (Marc-Andre Grondin). Colin Mochrie also appears.
It should be apparent right off the bat that this is not an annoyingly blatant retelling of Cinderella. First off, the main character’s name is Kate – not Cindy, or Ella, or any other clever twist on the classic name. The plot is certainly informed by the original story, but is not a parody or strict retelling which makes it much easier to watch.
There are certainly plot holes and unlikely scenarios, but nothing terribly cringe worthy. It feels more like an ABC Family original than a full fledged film, but it’s an extremely watchable one. We know exactly where it is going the whole time, but it’s fun to just sit back and watch things unfold since all the characters are quite enjoyable. Mochrie is especially entertaining as the villainous Colin Frost.
A collaborative effort with the Canadian designer and retailer Le Chateau, the fashion aspects are all quite believable, which helps sell the whole concept. The clothing designs all live up to their on-screen brouhaha rather than just being accepted as great because we’re told they are.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this film is that the romance is rather downplayed. Yes Kate goes after her prince, and there is a ball, and a (spoiler) happy ending. All of that plays secondary to Kate proving her worth to herself and the industry in which she works, as well as the plot of corporate espionage and backstabbing.
It’s not going to make into Grimm’s book, but when it comes to re-imagined fairy tales, you could do a lot worse than After the Ball.
Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film
My rating: Three out of five hats
After the Ball dances into select theaters and VOD April 24
One thought on “Review – After the Ball”
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