Kinky Boots

PROJECT RUNWAY Ejiofor, standing, works it

PROJECT RUNWAY Ejiofor, standing, works it.

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Time Out says

Thu Apr 6 2006

Julian Jarrold’s feature debut may be “inspired by a true story,” as the opening credits dutifully inform us, but don’t be fooled: Kinky Boots is obviously a fairy tale. Joel Edgerton stars as Charlie Price, the reluctant heir to a family shoe factory in the English midlands. For 100 years they’ve been turning out respectable men’s wingtips, but business is bad, and Charlie is forced to lay off loyal workers—maybe even sell the business. Along comes a six-foot black drag queen named Lola (Ejiofor), a fairy godmother in a long wig and thigh-high leather boots, whom he encounters on a London street as she is being threatened by a gang of thugs. Charlie attempts to rescue her, but it’s she who ultimately saves him—she simply can’t find a pair of women’s boots made well enough to support a man’s weight. This gives Charlie a bright idea—niche market!—and so Lola ends up in Northampton, designing the fetish boots that turn around Price & Sons, while giving quite an education to the good-hearted but provincial factory workers.

Along the way there’s a perfunctory romance between Charlie and Lauren (Potts), a spirited employee. But all the chemistry is between Charlie and Lola, with their heart-to-hearts in the factory men’s room and public quarrels in restaurants. This being a fairy tale, everything ends happily, of course, but couldn’t the fairy godmother win the prince for a change? (Opens Fri; click here for venues.)—Tom Beer

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