Sunday, 23 February 2014

Cuban Fury: Movie Review

Cuban Fury: Movie Review

Cast: Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd, Olivia Colman, Rashida Jones, Ian McShane, Rory Kinnear, Kayvan Novak
Director: James Griffiths

Loveable doltish Nick Frost returns to the screen with this comedy set in the world of salsa dancing.

Frost plays Bruce Garrett, a former salsa dance prodigy, who, along with his sister, was about to take the world by storm, one dance stage at a time. But bullies put paid to his plans for salsa domination, ending this apparently "unstoppable salsa machine" before its time.

However, years later, and working as an engineer in a lathe company - prone to awful jokes like Better lathe than never - Bruce bumps into new American boss Julia (Rashida Jones). Literally. Dumbfounded by the first encounter, he believes she's out of his league but is determined to get close to her by re-discovering his dancing, a passion they both share.

But Bruce faces stiff competition from office colleague Drew (Bridesmaids star Chris O'Dowd), the crass boorish alpha male, who's determined to get to Julia first....

Cuban Fury is a film that could have done with a little more edge and originality.

Granted, Nick Frost lifts the whole thing with his usual display of funny facials and being thrown into situations that you'd never have imagined him in. He's also got some real talents on the dance floor as the everyman lovable schlub busts some moves. (and he does all his own dancing apart from one segment). He has a likeability that plays all through the film and to his strengths, but he's let down by a slightly generic script that hints at moments of more but never quite fully delivers.

Some of his fellow casr suffer a similar fate with Ian McShane being wasted as a former mentor and trainer - and even Rashida Jones never quite gets enough to work with. Though, Kayvan Novak gets some of the biggest laughs as a flamboyant dancer, whose line in innuendo and OTT flourishes work nicely when the predictable script dances along its merry way.

Chris O'Dowd plays nicely against type as the sleazy guy who makes the offensive and sexually suggestible comments throughout, a preening cock of a man whose one mission in life is to needle Bruce and prove to be a thorn in his side. Though the scenes were the two of them have a dance-off in a car park at lunchtime to settle their rivalry proves to be the highlight of the movie.

In fact, this sequence itself is symptomatic of the main issue that confines Cuban Fury's intentions to the sin bin - the predictability and oh-so-familiar nature of its underdog story provide little surprises outside of watching Frost twirl and pirhouette. While that's enough charisma to help the film get by, it relegates Cuban Fury's strength to more Cuban Bluster, making it a solidly average outing rather than an essential rom com.


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