Kinky Boots

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(2005) ★★

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Brit-flick conventions No.1: The ‘feel-good’ dramedy. A Northampton shoe factory facing closure hits on the idea of niche marketing. With the help of London drag queen Chiwetel Ejiofor, new owner Joel Edgerton plans to introduce a range of transvestite footwear. The prototype’s a violent red PVC thigh-high boot with a whip on the side. A far cry from brogues, and the workforce wear long faces – none more so than Simon Pegg’s pal Nick Frost, pub arm-wrestling champ these past five years.

In the codpiece and cosy-cardigans tradition of ‘inspirational’ Brit-flicks lifted from local news stories, Kinky Boots clumps in the wake of The Full Monty and Calendar Girls. Not cobblers, exactly, but close – crying out, you would think, to be a stage musical. The Australian Edgerton sounds exactly like Martin Freeman from The Office, and more or less plays him just like Freeman (and Hardy & Willis). With thighs like Titus Bramble, strapping Londoner Ejiofor is an imposing ‘Lola’ (aka Simon from Clacton).

The sweetest scene is shared by Lola and his-her boarding-house landlady. “I just wanted to ask,” says the old dear, “are you a man?” Momentarily nonplussed, Lola replies “I am, love, yes.” “Oh, that’s fine,” she says, relieved. “I just wanted to know how to leave the toilet seat.”

Certificate: 12
Duration: 107min

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