“Kinky Boots” is one of those British films I have come to dread, the small, uplifting movie blueprinted from “The Full Monty.” They often feature little old ladies smoking pot (or sometimes taking their tops off) or men putting on high heels for a good cause.
This one is loosely based on a true story, about a traditional small-town shoe company facing bankruptcy. Looking for a niche market to save itself, the company went for footwear designed for transvestites – that is, women’s shoes built for extra weight.
The hero of our tale is Charlie (rising Aussie actor Joel Edgerton), a quiet sort who’s inherited the Northampton factory from his beloved father. When he gets the brainstorm about cornering the transvestite market, Charlie must engage the counsel of a professional who can help him the design the new boots.
This would be Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a London drag queen and nightclub performer. Considering Charlie’s initial designs to be lacking in a certain, shall we say, fabulosity, Lola gets on the job and settles in Northampton for a feverish round of shoe-making. It’s all in preparation for a Milan fashion show, which conveniently looms on the calendar.
Everything goes exactly as you would expect, civilized political correctness holds sway, and intense boredom is the order of the day.
Some of this would be enjoyable enough if the film weren’t so horribly pushy about its own cuteness. Everything is lovable, right down to the last boot heel.
|Uplifting but dull: Cutesy British comedy about a small-town shoe factory that begins a specialty line of boots for transvestites. Relentlessly uplifting and totally dull, the film at least has two rising stars, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joel Edgerton.
Rated: PG-13 rating is for subject matter
Now showing: Egyptian
If the movie is bearable, it’s because of the two lead actors, who are going places. Edgerton was in “King Arthur” and displays star quality, even though this role shoehorns him into a laid-back demeanor for the duration of the picture.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, lately seen as Denzel Washington’s sidekick in “Inside Man” and an unsettling villain in “Serenity,” is a great actor, even if he’s not entirely convincing as a drag queen. Ejiofor played the African doctor adrift in London in “Dirty Pretty Things,” one of the star-making performances of the last decade in films.
Here, whether he’s singing “Whatever Lola Wants” or destroying an early boot design with a single withering word – “Burgundy?” – Ejiofor comes across as a fully confident performer. Now, please, if he would stop making movies like this. …
Chiwetel Ejiofor helps a shoemaker discover a new fashion in “Kinky Boots.”