Although it makes an allusion to The Bard’s TWELFTH NIGHT, AFTER THE BALL is a cute retelling of the story of Cinderella, set around the world of high fashion. While the encompassing story is Cinderella, there are also elements of TOOTSIE and THE BIRDCAGE tossed into the mix. Centered on the world of high fashion, there is also ample opportunity to insert clear, though subtle homosexual acceptance propaganda into the script, culminating in the final reel with the Fall Fashion Show. AFTER THE BALL, despite its proselytizing, is a familiar tale that will play well for young girls and family fare.
Portia Doubleday plays Kate, the Cinderella role. She’s a recent graduate looking to be a designer for couturier houses. She finds it difficult to gain employment because her father owns a famous and popular knock-off retail house. Though she wants to avoid working for her father, played by Chris North, she finally relents and accepts his offer to be a part of Kassell Fashions. There she encounters her evil step mother Elise Kassell, played by Lauren Holly and her mischievous, though dim-witted step sisters played by Natalie Krill and Ana Hopkins. The sisters provide comic relief for most of the film’s drama. In the course of events, she will also meet her Prince Charming, Daniel, played by Marc-Andre Grondin and she will be aided by her step-mother, replacing the fairy godmother, Bella played by Mimi Kuzyk, probably best known for her reoccurring role on TV’s HILL STREET BLUES.
Jason Sherman and Kate Melville pen a script that is simultaneously familiar and clever. The modern adaptations to a familiar fable are as entertaining as the Odysseus tale presented in OH, BROTHER WHERE ART THOU. This familiarity is however a double edged sword. Since the story and plot twists are already known, the film tends to drag. Editor Erin Deck, in an effort to play out the emotional drama allows scenes to extend too long.
Director Sean Garrity, working in conjunction with the Canadian Film Office, orchestrates an ensemble with strong Canadian ties. The story takes place in Montreal, whose citizens are still celebrating a first round victory over arch-rivals the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Garrity, whose previous work is rather morose, spins 180 degrees with AFTER THE BALL. The movie is a light-hearted romp young ladies will find entertaining. The pro homosexual agenda messages are so banal, the movie can be shown for family night without having to explain or answer awkward questions afterwards.