Kinky Boots

Reviewed By Mark Rodger-Snelson
Posted 05/09/06 23:56:55

"Very familiar but charming enough to warrant a viewing"
3 stars (Just Average)

Kinky Boots is a fairly typical British comedy that uses a tried and tested format of the underdog triumphing against the odds – think Fully Monty, Brassed Off or Calender Girls and you get the idea. But in saying that, it is still an enjoyable flick thanks to some likeable characters and good performances throughout.

After the sudden death of his father, Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton) reluctantly takes over the family’s Northampton based shoe business. It is a business steeped in tradition that manufactures very high quality footwear but is losing contracts as well as facing bankruptcy due to the market being flooded with poorer quality yet much cheaper shoes. Charlie realises that he needs some new ideas and a fresh niche market to save the factory so he looks to London for inspiration. By chance he meets Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a drag queen cabaret performer, with a taste for flamboyant outfits and thigh high PVC boots with heels (that are continually breaking under her athletic build). Charlie finds his inspiration for a niche market through Lola and decides that erotic women’s footwear for a male market is the way to go. Convincing his Northampton workers of this is another matter.

Charlie knows Northampton and decides that it would be best for Lola to stay in London but she has a habit of doing the opposite of what people want of her and shows up unannounced at the factory. Her arrival is met with ridicule from the factory workers but Lola shows experience in dealing with this sort of behaviour and soon ends up staying on in Northampton where she assigns herself to be in charge of design. So begins the production line of high heeled PVC and snakeskin boots for today’s drag queen with a slot booked in for the Milan Shoe Fair to debut the new range. All the while Charlie’s relationship with his fiancé is on the rocks and his strive for perfection threatens production being finalised by the Milan deadline.

While it may seem odd that they chose Joel Edgerton to play a bland Northamptonshire lad, he does a very convincing job. But it is Chiwetel Ejiofor’s showstopping performance as Lola that fuels this movie to make is a cut above average. Not only does he manage to walk naturally in ludicrously high heels, but he also brilliantly sings each of the sassy songs performed throughout the movie – no lip synching for this sister! It is also a very tidy production with nice cinematography and some excellent costuming for Lola and her dancers.

Kinky Boots is the movie equivalent of music’s ‘easy listening’ category. Everything about it feels familiar, it does not force you to think and whilst you may forget it within a few hours after leaving the cinema, you’ll still have a good time while you are there.

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