Cuban Fury
2014 Running time: 98 Certificate: 15 Not yet rated
Cuban Fury

Synopsis

As a junior salsa champ in the 80s, Bruce Garrett (Nick Frost) had the world at his feet - until bullies stamped out the fire in his soles. Now the only salsa he's interested in comes with nachos. But when he discovers his gorgeous new boss (Rashida Jones) is learning to dance, Bruce is inspired to brush up his moves. Unfortunately, the office sleaze (Chris O'Dowd) is determined to do the cha-cha-cha with her first. Having come up with the idea, Frost takes the lead for the first time in an underdog comedy that keeps the beat resolutely up.

Director

  • James Griffiths

Cast

  • Nick Frost

  • Rashida Jones

  • Chris O'Dowd

  • Olivia Colman

  • Ian McShane

Review

"Based on an original idea by Nick Frost" it says in the credits. What, the idea of a loveable fat bloke hitting the dance floor to the general amusement but growing respect of all? Sorry, but don't they trot that one out every year on Strictly Come Dancing?

Even the main character is called Bruce. Alas, like his namesake, the film is always keen to set up a gag but rarely makes the punchline worth it.

This Bruce (Frost) is a former salsa prodigy who turned his back on the dance floor after getting beaten up by bullies on his way to the Nationals back in 1987.

Twenty-five years later, he's an out-of-shape saddo whose only pride is in the lathes he designs for a living. Unfortunately that means he has to work with the biggest tool in the company: office pest Drew (Chris O'Dowd, stealing scenes like David Brent on Viagra).

So when Drew sets his sights on their hot, new American boss Julia (Rashida Jones), Bruce rediscovers his competitive edge - made even sharper when it turns out she has a taste for salsa.

Hilarity ensues. Actually, it's just straight larity as Bruce seeks the advice of his kooky-but-not sister (Olivia Colman) before rebuilding bridges with his grudgy old dance teacher (Ian McShane), acquiring a camp sidekick (Kayvan Novak), and giving the wrong impression to his best mate (Rory Kinnear).

The problem is not so much that it follows a predictable routine - underdog movies always do - but its chronic lack of inspiration.

The choreography is well staged (and carefully edited to mask the stand-ins) and one dance battle in a car park borders on the surreal.

But the novelty of watching Frost dance isn't reward enough for sitting through so many scenes that, comedically speaking, never get off the floor.

Frost makes a perfectly affable lead but director James Griffiths and writer Jon Brown lead their talented cast down too many dead ends. Especially O'Dowd, who after all his slimily good work really deserves to go out with a bigger bang.

Strictly average.

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