We all have kryptonite. I have more
kryptonite than most. If the movie involves dancing, cheerleading,
drumlines, high school drama, Shakespeare, modern interpretations of
Shakespeare, or re-telling fairy tales, I’ve probably seen it or want to
see it. I simply can’t help myself. This is my candy and I love to bite
into a new bar. Rarely is that new bar completely fulfilling. Even
rarer, like, white elephant rare, is when that piece of candy happens to
be Canadian. I’m pretty sure the last one was How She Move (review) and that was a long, long time ago.
What first caught my attention about After the Ball is director Sean Garrity. A few years ago Garrity really impressed with a great little thriller titled Blood Pressure
so when I saw his name attached, I didn’t look any further. I knew I
had to see this. Imagine my surprise when I read the description to find
that After the Ball is basically Cinderella meets “Twelfth Night” set in the fashion industry.
Portia Doubleday stars as Kate, a talented fashion grad who is trying
to get a job in the world of haute couture. She’s talented but her
family name is problematic. Her father owns a consumer friendly fashion
line that, in the past, has been known to steal couture designs and
re-package them for the mall crowd. Defeated, Kate returns home and
decides, against her initial floundering, to take on a job at the family
business. She squares off against her terrible step mother and two
despicable (and dumb) step sisters, gets fired, returns in disguise and
falls in love with the in house shoe designer – played by, no less,
A Canadian fashion comedy/romance starring Marc-André Grondin. Did
the stars really align like this? Is this movie for real? The answer to
both of those is a resounding yes and After the Ball
delivers exactly the kind of light and fluffy entertainment it
promises. There’s quick wit, a likeable lead, a handsome leading man,
chemistry between the two leads, laughs and a script that doesn’t simply
villainize or victimize the female characters.
Doubleday is great playing double duty as the two characters, Grondin
is charming as the leading man, Lauren Holly is rather brilliant as the
evil stepmother, Chris Noth kills the suit and glasses look while Mimi
Kuzyk and Carlo Rota (if Stanley Tucci isn’t available for your over the
top, gay man role, call Rota. Actually, it would be great to see them
playing brothers!) steal every scene they’re in.
After the Ball was a huge surprise, the
kind of movie you don’t get to see at a festival but which is so sorely
needed among the heavy dramas. An endlessly entertaining comedy that
fires on all cylinders. I can’t wait to see it again!