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Wed, June 26

DVD review: Kinky Boots

You may never have heard of this 2005 gem of a British film, but it's a delightful viewing experience. It's a real "sleeper" the same way that The Last of the Blond Bombshells was.

Kinky Boots is about a shoe factory in Northampton, England. The Price Shoe factory makes fine men's dress shoes and has done so since the days of Charlie Price's great-grandfather. Charlie, now a young man about to be married, grew up learning about shoe-making and is expected to be the heir to the business. Charlie isn't particularly interested in that; he wants to leave the blue-collar community and live with his bride in London. Before he can unpack his bag in London, his father dies and Charlie is now the factory owner in Northampton.

Charlie quickly finds out that the business has been failing for some time. He starts to lay off workers who have given their lives to Price Shoes. It's very painful for him; these are people who have helped raise Charlie.

Charlie meets a popular drag queen named Lola. Lola has trouble with her garish show boots. Charlie readily diagnoses the problem. Lola is a big guy and the boots aren't made for big men. Charlie and Lola design and make a pair of stylish boots, suitable for Lola's stage persona, and strong enough to carry Lola's masculine hulk. The factory is transformed, although the provincial workers are not crazy about Lola's appearance. Resistance turns to grudging acceptance as business improves and then reluctant friendship turns to genuine camaraderie. Charlie takes the crew, the boots and Lola with the entire Lola musical drag show to the big shoe exposition in Milan.

Joel Edgerton is Charlie in a fine performance as the reluctant shoe factory heir turned into an expert maker of Kinky Boots. Sarah-Jane Potts is charming as the young woman who assists Charlie in running the factory. The principal presence in Kinky Boots is Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola. He sashays on stage, singing great old standards (especially, Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets) and completely dominates all the dramatic scenes he's in.

Kinky Boots has a share of humor, some touching moments and a bunch of appealing characters ­ all making Kinky Boots. A postscript at the end tells us the film, Kinky Boots, is based on a true story.

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