Like the love child of “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Twelfth Night” and “Cinderella”—I know that doesn’t make sense, but either does much of this movie—“After the Ball” is a modern day fairy tale set against the backdrop of the fashion industry.
Portia Doubleday stars as fashion grad Kate Kassel. From the outside she seems to have it all, talent, drive and a father (Chris Noth) who is the CEO of a fashion line. Trouble is, the family name has been sullied in recent years and no one will hire her. Fashionable hat in hand she begs for a job at the family business, now being run by her evil stepmother (Lauren Holly) and talentless, vindictive stepsisters (Natalie Krill and Anna Hopkins). Her obvious talent doesn’t endear her to the sisters and soon she is framed for fashion theft and fired. Determined to set things right, and save the business, she dons a disguise—she’s now Nate—and returns to the fold.
The movie’s influences are beyond obvious—Kate is the princess, get it?—and there aren’t many surprises in the retelling of this light and fluffy commercial tale and while it is a movie probably best suited to the small screen VOD experience that doesn’t negate its modest charms.
“After the Ball” tries a bit too hard to please, but Doubleday has good chemistry with love interest/prince charming Marc-André Grondin and Holly has some one-dimensional fun as the villainous stepmother. Carlo Rota’s Stanley Tucci impression, however, brings us back to earth, reminding us we’re watching a copy of the kind of top-of-the-line rom coms that feature aerial views of Manhattan in their opening moments.