Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots movie poster
MPAA rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy
A young man sets out to save his father's shoe factory by producing shoes made especially for male transvestites.
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Director: Julian Jarrold
Running time: 1:46
Release: Opened Apr 8, 2006
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Editorial Review

In "Kinky Boots," Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Simon, a cross-dressing cabaret performer who vamps it up for appreciative British nightclub crowds. But there are silent tears in front of the dresser between shows. Simon is getting older. (Those catcalls from the audience are getting more frequent.) He doesn't know what to do with his life. He's not even sure about his sexuality.

But he's only half of the formula. The other is Charlie (Joel Edgerton), a shy young man from Northampton who has just inherited his father's shoe factory and all the workers that go with it. Business is terrible. The market no longer wants the brogues and oxfords that were his father's pride. Charlie needs a miracle.

In the kind of contrivance you could find only in a movie like this, Charlie inadvertently saves Simon from a back-alley beating. The shoe manufacturer is knocked unconscious in the process. He wakes up in Simon's dressing room, makes a new friend, then can't help noticing how easily Simon's heels break under all that manly weight. Where could this story be going?

Director Julian Jarrold and screenwriters Geoff Deane and Tim Firth trade in hackneyed dualities. Simon's urbane, multiethnic world is pitted against Charlie's northern culture of factories and working-class values; bigotry squares off with tolerance and so on.

Ejiofor was a revelation in "Dirty Pretty Things" as a Nigerian doctor forced to live illegally in London. Though he's charismatic as the husky-voiced Simon, he never transcends the movie's pandering agenda.

-- Desson Thomson

Contains sexual themes and profanity.