I don't know what you're used to making here, Charlie-boy, but now you're makin' sex! Two and a half feet or irresistible, tubular, sex!Kinky Boots
, named for the song of the same name by the actors from the old 1960s The Avengers Live-Action TV
show, is the story of Charlie Price, who inherits his father's shoe factory upon his death.
Unfortunately, industry is putting the old fashioned factory under and his dad's old friends, whom Charlie has known since childhood, out of work. Charlie doesn't really want to keep the factory; nor does he exactly feel right letting the factory fail, but old wing tips aren't going to cut it.
Enter Lola, a 6-foot-5, black Drag Queen
, who, after rescuing Charlie from the mugger from whom Charlie attempted to rescue her, wants Charlie to make footwear for Drag Queens.
The only way for the factory to have a shot at this niche market is to make a splash at the Milan Shoe Expo. Charlie has to persuade the conservative people of his factory to get on board with this rather offbeat plan and raise enough money to get them to Milan, all while struggling with running the factory, dealing with his marriage, and trying to cope with the cognitive dissonance working with Lola is causing him.
A musical Screen-to-Stage Adaptation
, with a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, opened on Broadway in 2013 and went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical.
The film features examples of the following tropes:
- Accidental Public Confession: Lauren has been falling in love with Charlie but makes nice with his fiancee anyway, runs into said fiancee and mentions with sincere appreciation that he put their house up for mortgage in order to save the factory. Nicola didn't know, and is - quite reasonably - less than pleased that he kept it from her. Lauren is mortified; she had no idea Charlie hadn't discussed it with Nicola first.
- There's also the fight that ensues after that scene. Nicola asks Charlie for a reason he mortgaged the house. He thinks the entire factory is empty, but one employee remains, who overhears Charlie tell Nicola in a tearful shout that he's known these people since childhood, that laying off the first 15 of them were the worst 15 times of his life, and that he doesn't actually enjoy making people redundant...and that if she can't see why he risked so much to save the factory, then she will never get him. Shortly thereafter, every employee is back on the job working at top speed and top skill.
- Achilles in His Tent: Lola and the fashion show
- Ambiguously Gay: Odd for a Drag Queen, but it's implied Lola is a straight Wholesome Crossdresser.
- Anything But That! / Berserk Button: Don't try to impress Lola with something burgundy.
Lola: Burgundy. Please God tell me I have not inspired something burgundy.
- Based on a True Story: Loosely.
- Between My Legs: Lauren models the prototype pair for Charlie. In the commentary, the director mentions that he couldn't resist making it. Also, there isn't any peek-a-boo because Lauren is completely clothed and the boots go all the way up her thigh.
- Big Damn Heroes: A not-quite-genderflipped example: Charlie has really Screwed The Pooch. He told Lola off about being a Drag Queen the night before their fashion show in Milan, then is too much of a wuss to admit they have no performers for the show. With no other models, Charlie puts on the Kinky Boots himself and tries to take to the runway. He falls on his face and is too mortified to get up. The camera then shows a red patent leather stiletto stepping past him. He glances up to see Lola, who launches into a rousing medley with the Angel Club girls, and brings down the house.
- Billy Elliot Plot: Not only does Lola's father he wish his son would take up boxing instead of drag, he rejects him even on his death bed. However, Lola turns out to be very good at boxing in addition to performing.
- Drag Queen: Lola, and all the girls at the Angel Club.
- Fashion Show: The Milan Shoe Show, with Lola and her girls strutting their stuff.
- Ladies and Germs: Lola's customary salutation: "Ladies, Gentlemen, and those of you who have yet to make up your minds!"
- Love Triangle: Charlie is engaged to Nicola, but Lauren loves him, and he's beginning to feel the same way.
- Secondary love triangle with Charlie, Lauren and Lola.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Our first introduction to the character we know as Lola is him wearing women's shoes as a small boy, juxtaposed with Charlie and his father in the shoe factory.
- Name's the Same: Charlie and Lola???
- Oop North: Northampton is portrayed as the boring, bankrupt small town representing the endangered values of Charlie's father, and which the fashionable fiancée desperately tries to leave or convert to condos. While the people are very nice, they're a bit small-minded about their new co-worker, a drag queen from London.
- Northampton is actually in the Midlands, not the North; it's closer to Birmingham than Yorkshire. It's also a large and quite prosperous town with a fair amount of light industry in the surrounding area. In fairness, the above is how Nicola and Lola see it.
Lola: I gave up the provinces years ago, and I've just been reminded why. Lola doesn't do north.
Charlie: Northamptom's the Midlands.
Lola: No, Charlie, Tottenham Court Road is the Midlands!
- Interestingly, the railway station scene was actually filmed in nearby Wellingborough, a town that really is as boring and provincial as Nicola and Lola make Northampton out to be.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Burgundy!"