Cuban Fury Review

Cuban Fury

Nick Frost first hit our TV screens in the late nineties alongside Simon Pegg as an unhinged territorial army cadet in wonderful little show called Spaced.

Then there was the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, alongside quirky comedies such as Paul and Attack the Block, and supporting turns for directors such as Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson.

Not bad for a former waiter at Chiquito’s.

It may have taken a decade and a half but Frost has his first lead role on the big screen, and it’s a romantic one at that.

Cuban Fury, which sounds like some magnificent aftershave from the eighties, is a sweet and enjoyable Billy-Elliot-meets-Blades-of-Glory kind of cinematic mash-up, with some rather nifty salsa moves thrown in to boot.

Frost plays Bruce Garrett, a former teen dancing prodigy who hung up his three-inch Cuban heels just as he was on the verge of hitting the big time.

Twenty-odd years later, and Bruce is resignedly toiling away as an engineer with only the moody Helen and slimy Drew for company.

And they’re not great company at that, even though if they’re played by Alexandra Roach and Chris O’Dowd.

Then one fine day Bruce quite literally bumps into the Rashida Jones shaped Julia, who’s his new boss and fellow salsa aficionado.

And so begins his quest to win her over via the medium of dance.

Incidentally, Nick Frost appeared at the screening of this film and humbly explained how the shoot was such a struggle due to his own fear of dancing; a fear that resonates with many other males, including yours truly.

Show me a humongous spider and it ain’t no thang, but show me to the dance floor and the only move I’ll be breaking is the cold sweats.

Frost may seem like an unlikely romantic lead, but he pulls off his salsa moves with aplomb and even manages to keep up his whole cuddly teddy bear act to boot, fits perfectly.

And as the object of his affection, Jones is charming with just the slightest hint of awkwardness. Even if she does have a pretty antiquated taste in music format for someone who works in engineering.

Both leads are aided by a zippy script which has plenty of moments, including a gem of a line about white chocolate Maltesers.

You’ll see.

Some elements do irk though; O’Dowd is good fun to watch but his wannabe lothario veers unsettlingly between odious and comical, and the romantic strand is as predictable as a well-trodden dance floor number.

But when the steps are this well executed, and the performers include seasoned pros like Olivia Coleman and Ian McShane, it’s easy to sit back and just enjoy the show.

Special mention goes to Kayvan Novak as one of Bruce’s dance classmates, who gets away with some of the campest scene-stealing since Bronson Pinchot in Beverly Hills Cop.

In short, Cuban Fury is a simple, feel good comedy that will quickstep learning to dance to the top of our new year’s resolutions list.

Even if you’re a bloke.

Conor Brennan

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February 2014
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