Charles Price may have grown up with his father in the family shoe business, but he never thought that he would take his father's place. Yet, the untimely death of his father places him in that position, only to learn that Price and Sons Shoes is failing. While in despair at his failed attempts to save the business, Charles has a chance encounter with the flamboyant drag queen cabaret singer, Lola. Her complaints about the inadequate footwear for her work combined with one of Charles' ex-employees, Lauren, leads to a suggestion to change the product to create a desperate chance to save the business: make men's fetish footwear. Lola is convinced to be their footwear designer and the transition begins. Now this disparate lot must struggle at this unorthodox idea while dealing with both the prejudice of the staff, Lola's discomfort in the small town and the selfish manipulation of Charles' greedy fiance who cannot see the greater good in Charles' dream.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Shoe Fair depicted actually exists and it's called MICAM, it's not situated in the centre of Milan, obviously, but in the exhibition complex in the outskirts of the city. See more »
The voice mail Charlie leaves Lola in Milan goes "Lola, when you pick this up it's Charlie from Northampton" But when she plays it for Charlie, and Lauren after the cat-walk it goes "Lola, it's Charlie from Northampton". See more »
This movie is about old-fashioned values like decency and unselfishness. Though the premise, an old style English shoe factory avoiding bankruptcy by designing boots for drag queens sounds sleazy, this movie is squeaky clean entertainment suitable for children.
The camera work is entertaining, especially, oddly the closeup scenes of shoes being manufactured, streams of colour zipping along to the upbeat music.
It is a movie without villains. The conflict comes from selfish vs unselfish motives, self direction vs worrying what others think, despair vs taking responsibility.
Of course the theme of tolerance for diversity is woven through. The movie does not have the usual silly Hollywood tolerance breakthroughs. It comes in fits and starts with back pedaling and tolerance from surprising sources.
The lead drag queen Lola sings better than anyone on American Idol, in a genre all her own. The musical numbers are far better than you will see an any real world drag show. These are not female impersonators. None of the drag queens would ever pass as female.
This is a character-based tragi-comedy about wildly different outcasts interacting. Of course the basic plot is predictable if you watch the trailers and use your intellect. But that is not how to watch this comedy. It is a bit like complaining that Lucille Ball was inevitably going to get herself covered in some sort of mess in the Long Trailer or that a Marx brothers comedy would end in a pie fight. Immerse yourself in the movie's reality. I was genuinely surprised by the ending, though in retrospect it was inevitable. Plot twists like a murder mystery is not what this movie is about. If all you care about is plot, skip this movie; it will go over your head.
All said, unless you have a heart of stone, you will come out smiling and more optimistic than when you went in.
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