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Kinky Boots

These Boots Are Made For Stumblin'

Ah, those wonderfully quirky Brits. What will they think up next? Nearly a decade after The Full Monty won the hearts of American audiences with its winsome tale of hard-luck chaps stripping down to pay the bills, director Julian Jarrold brings us Kinky Boots, another screwball comedy that strips the English of their trademark stiff-upper-lipness and recasts them as happy-go-lucky kooks. This time around, however, the approach seems stale. There are laughs, thanks mostly to Chiwetel Ejiofor's over-the-top performance as the cross-dressing Lola, and plenty of calculated uplift, but Kinky Boots is the product of a formula that has worn thin.

This year's down-on-his-luck schlub is Charlie (Joel Edgerton), whose shoe factory has hit the skids during an economic downturn. Desperate for inspiration, he turns to the most unlikely of sources: Lola, a flamboyant drag queen who suggests that Charlie produce a bold new line of stiletto-heeled boots for men. And wouldn't you know, the strategy pays off, as the factory enjoys newfound popularity and its stodgy employees learn to tolerate and even admire their eccentric muse.

Ejiofor makes the most of the role, infusing Lola with enough brashness to overshadow her curious lack of kink, but the movie rings hollow. Winning over the blue-collar Brits is perhaps Lola's greatest victory, and it's inspirational to a point. But Kinky Boots is as calculated as it is predictable, and there's nothing particularly funny or inspiring about that.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars