"These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do. But one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you..." - Nancy Sinatra

If you loved Calendar Girls and The Full Monty, you'll love Kinky Boots, directed by Julian Jarrold. Kinky Boots is another film in the genre of British films with quirky, rural characters doing something outrageous. In The Full Monty it was a group of laid off guys doing well, the full monty; in Calendar Girls it was a group of older women shedding their clothes and inhibitions to make a fundraising calendar. In Kinky Boots, we have a reluctant heir to a shoe factory owner who decides to save his family's factory from shutting down by switching the company's product from reliable, well-made English brogues to reliable, well-made, sexy boots - for drag queens and transexual men.

The film stars Joel Edgerton (Star Wars: Episodes Two and Three) as Charlie Price, who takes over the shoemaking factory that has been in his family for four generations after the sudden death of his father, and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Melinda and Melinda, Red Dust, Love Actually) as Lola the drag queen, who helps save Charlie's factory by desiging the sexiest boots the quiet burg of Northampton has ever seen. Rounding out the cast are Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) as Don, a factory worker who takes an instant dislike to Lola, Sara-Jane Potts as Lauren, the feisty factory worker who makes Charlie believe in himself, and Calendar Girl Linda Bassett.

When Charlie takes over the factory, he soon learns the large order of brogues they are working on has been canceled, and the factory is in dire financial straits. He is forced to make 15 employees redundant, but Lauren challenges his complacency by telling him to stop asking "what can I do" and saying "it's not my fault", and find a way to save the factory.

A chance encounter with Lola, a drag queen, in an alley where he attempts to rescue her from thugs and ends up face down on the pavement with Lola rescuing him, leads Charlie to thinking that maybe he could design a sturdier boot for drag queens and transsexuals, who have to wear women's shoes that can't support their weight. Before you can say "it's raining men", Lola is in Northampton designing boots for Charlie and turning the small town on its ear. The biggest obstacle Charlie has to overcome in order to save his factory isn't boots, though - it's his own prejudice against the very people who represent his target market. Charlie wants Lola to design great boots that will sell, but he is embarrassed to be seen with Lola publicly and to embrace her as a friend. Tough guy factory worker Don has a hard time accepting Lola, too, until she nearly beats him at arm wrestling at the pub where he is the long-standing champion.

Kinky Boots is a likable crowd pleaser (the capacity crowd at the screening I saw was laughing so hard at times it was hard to hear the next line). The film rises above mediocrity on the strength of solid performances by both Edgerton and Ejiofor. Edgerton is believable as Charlie, playing him with just the right mix of guilt, confusion, and tenacity, without ever going overboard. The real scene stealer of the show, though, is Ejiofor, who, after his turn as a gangster in Four Brothers, gets to dress up in sequins and sing and dance to drag queen numbers. More importantly, he creates in Lola a drag queen character that isn't a caricature; Lola has a depth and soul not often found in films about transvestites. Ejiofor nails the way Lola is torn, how she hides behind her drag queen persona so as not to have to live in the world as Simon, her male persona. The persona of Lola protects Simon from the pain of rejection for who she is. Lola's own father refused to see her once she came out as a drag queen; even when he was dying of cancer, he wouldn't see his son. Ejiofor projects Lola's isolation, loneliness and false bravado with a finesse that declares him as one of the most talented actors working today.

The film is a bit predictable - there are no major plot twists that will knock you off your seat - and feels a lot like all those aforementioned British comedies in style (not surprising, given the producers were also responsible for Calendar Girls), but in spite of that, it's impossible not to like. Kinky Boots is about acceptance: accepting change, accepting things you don't understand, and accepting those who are different from you, even if that means accepting that other people might judge you for it.

Others on Kinky Boots: Vince Leo, while not blown away, was impressed by Ejiofor, whose performance "makes [the] movie work," while the BBC's Adrian Hennigan described it as "Slick and impossible to dislike."