Review: ‘The Ball’

A flamboyant star role for Laura Morante as a ditzy single mother and chanteuse provides almost enough ballast to keep "The Ball" from drifting into thin air.

A flamboyant star role for Laura Morante as a ditzy single mother and chanteuse provides almost enough ballast to keep “The Ball” from drifting into thin air. Cute but awfully slender feature — which would barely reach an hour’s length sans credits and onstage song interludes — will attract headliner’s fans, but reps the kind of regional-fest crowd-pleaser whose cliche emotional satisfactions won’t impress crix enough to warrant offshore arthouse pickup. Nonetheless, it’s viable for specialized broadcast and DVD export.

Having walked out on her latest boyfriend — at 4 a.m., drowsy child in tow — nightclub singer Monica (Morante) again plunges pint-sized 12-year-old son Raul (Umberto Morelli) into domestic chaos. He decides the only way to secure their future is by engineering a permanent boyfriend for mom. Raul’s pubescent relationship with a smitten female classmate occupies whatever time he doesn’t spend trying to get ma together with music professor Medri (Antonio Catania). But that plan doesn’t work out as imagined. Kiddie stuff is contrived and conventional, replete with precocious juvenile voiceover narration, while Morante’s flighty character is both amusing (despite her iffy singing) and over-indulged. Tech package is smooth.

The Ball

Italy

Production

An ASP Srl -- Dodici Dicembre Srl production, in association with the Ministerio per I Beni e la Attivita Culturali, Direzione Generale Cinema. Produced by Donatella Palmermo. Directed by Claudio Antonini. Screenplay, Marco Campogiani, Carla Cattani, Giovani DeFeo, Antonini.

Crew

Camera (color), Gian Enrico Bianchi; editors, Giuliana Zamariola, Franesco Bilotti; music, Ricardo Tesi, Gianni Coscia, Gianluigi Trovesi; production designer, Beatrice Scarpato. Reviewed at New Italian Cinema Events, San Francisco, Nov. 14, 2007. Running time: 78 MIN.

With

Laura Morante, Antonio Catania, Umberto Morelli, Edoardo Baietti, Giorgia Brunaccini, Giordano DiPietro.
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