This feel-good, inspired by an actual story, picture, isn't without its missteps. Yet, the makers of Calendar Girls have made something appealing without being too cliche-ridden.
The British comedy Kinky Boots centers on the return to Northhampton by one Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton). He comes from London after having moved there with ambitious girlfriend Nicola (Jemima Rooper) due to the demise of his father (Robert Pugh). He's in the shire because he now has to handle the family business - of shoes - and it's financially in a quagmire.
This amiable tale, scripted by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth, finds color in Charlie's chance meeting with drag queen Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor of Inside Man, Dirty Pretty Things). Think of Lola as a relative of the Wesley Snipes character in To Wong Foo or a pumped-up Naomi Campbell.
Lola looks to be the individual, albeit a transvestite, to help Charlie get the company back on solid footing with items that gives the film its name. Will the prospective customers from Milan go for this "progressive" idea with something like thigh-high stillettos?
The conventional storyline builds to the climactic show in Milan, tweaking character interplay in the interim. Kinky Boots is fairly adroit from the helming of Julian Jarrold, not staging anything that would be considered ham-fisted.
The characters are drawn out enough to make their milieu credible. In the lead role, Edgerton (Revenge of the Sith's Uncle Owen) shows personality. The women in his life play well off of his Charlie, not just Rooper, but Sarah-Jane Potts as his assistant.
The best work that offers the most outlandish fun is from Ejiofor in a wonderfully lively, charismatic turn, endowed with a subtle, truthful vulnerability. However, the writers compromise Lola beyond the potential salaciousness of these boots. Blocking out Lola's romantic life without any representation of sexuality may not really hamper its kinky verve. Yet, it would have helped brought its late melodramatic, talky moments more of a kick than they really are.