‘Kinky’ kicks

“Kinky Boots” (Miramax Films), in the true spirit of British comedy, recounts the experience of Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton), owner of the Price & Sons Shoe Factory, with awkwardly appropriate similarity to the patent leather and bold colors of his newly developed product.

Suffering financial trouble, Charlie fires several employees in order to keep the factory, which was passed down to him by his recently deceased father Harold Price (Robert Pugh), out of debt. Pushing the product – brown leather shoes produced in bulk since the company’s beginnings – Charlie finds himself outside North Hampton and meets “Lola” (whose real name is Leon), a cross-dressing cabaret singer. This meeting, coupled with an interaction with one sassy employee named Lauren (Sarah-Jane Potts), prompts Charlie to make a proactive effort to alter his product for financial success. Charlie identifies a niche market: cross-dressers.

Based on a true story, “Kinky Boots,” directed by Julian Jarrold and written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, is the tale of a family-owned shoe factory undergoing financial difficulty and a righteous young Brit’s effort to preserve the company and the jobs of its workers. Charlie rehires and promotes Lauren, attempting to create a sample product for Lola to test.

His first effort, a thigh-high boot of burgundy suede with a modest heel, is a resounding failure in Lola’s eyes. Lola then comes to be the designer of such “kinky boots,” and though initially embarrassed by her presence in the factory, Charlie comes to accept her.

In a more serious scene of the British comedy, Charlie finds Lola in men’s clothes, locked in a bathroom in the factory. “Put on a frock and I can sing ‘Stand by Your Man’ in front of 500 strangers.Put on a pair of jeans and I can’t even.say hello,” Lola tells Charlie.

Through the pressures of workers inevitably comparing him to his father and the completion of a product line in time for release, Joel Edgerton gives a convincing performance as a stressed-out good guy. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola provides the zany twist necessary for the off-kilter concept of the (almost) true story made film. The fusion of these opposite characters drives the us-against-the-world theme of “Kinky Boots.”

Fun, fresh and bold, “Kinky Boots” is a quick treat for the lover of all things off-color. Be warned, though: not unlike the patent leather cross-dressing boots produced by Lola and Charlie, “Kinky Boots” appeals to a niche market; that is, those looking for a Hollywood blockbuster will be sorely disappointed.

Kinky Boots, released April 21, is currently in theaters.

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