Kinky Boots review, Kinky Boots DVD review

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Buy your copy from Kinky Boots (2006) starstarhalf starno starno star Starring: Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nick Frost, Sarah-Jane Potts
Director: Julian Jarrold
Rating: R
Category: Drama

There’s little actual comedy in “Kinky Boots,” the latest British import from the writer of 2003’s “Calendar Girls,” so why exactly is it being promoted as one? In fact, I don’t remember laughing even once during the film’s wearisome 107-minute runtime, and I don’t expect anyone else will either. Hey Miramax, hasn’t anyone told you? Everything that comes out of jolly old England doesn’t always have to be a comedy. “Kinky Boots” is a drama, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it doesn’t change the fact that when compared to more recent Brit winners like “Love Actually” and “Shaun of the Dead,” “Kinky Boots” is no better than average.

Based on true events (most likely to lure those who fall victim to these types of stories), the film takes place in a small English town (Northampton, to be exact) where one of the last remaining shoe factories is on the brink of closing down. With second-rate shoes being made cheaper and cheaper each day, the average citizen has turned their back on the more expensive, but life-lasting model that the Price & Sons factory has been making for generations. Following the death of the factory’s owner, Mr. Price (Robert Pugh), his son Charlie (Joel Edgerton) is forced to take over the business. But when he discovers there’s no possible way to keep the factory afloat with the current style of shoes, Charlie enlists in the help of a flashy drag queen, Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor), to design a new line of boots intended specifically for transvestites.

Generally a refreshing presence on screen, Ejiofor delivers an unmemorable performance as the black-man-in-drag; a role seemingly meant to be a hilarious riot, but one that nevertheless ends up falling flat on its face. The up-and-comer’s role in the severely underrated “Four Brothers,” not to mention more recent star-making roles in “Serenity” and “Inside Man,” are all more enjoyable than this absurdity. Relative unknown Edgerton is equally disappointing, and apart from the fact that he shares an uncanny likeness to talk-show host Conan O’Brien, there’s not one thing that makes you want to like him. In fact, the most notable performance comes from the unlikeliest cast member – Nick Frost, of “Shaun of the Dead” fame, as a homophobic factory worker who eventually warms up to the idea of a bloke walking around in a dress.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I absolutely love British cinema. It’s the closest thing to an American indie that you can get, with the exception that you see even less of them each year. And when a Brit-com does manage to snag an international distributor, it’s usually because that particular film is really, really good. “Kinky Boots,” however, is a major disappointment for those hoping to see the next “Full Monty.” It’s neither kinky, nor funny. And regrettably, it smells of a desperate ploy to cash in on a taboo subject.

DVD Review:
With only a few special features to speak of, the single-disc release of “Kinky Boots” isn’t really recommended for purchase. Still, the audio commentary with director Julian Jarrold and stars Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofer & Sarah-Jane Potts offers an interesting insight into the making of the film, while four deleted scenes and a short making-of featurette also appear.

~Jason Zingale

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