Cuban Fury

Directed by James Griffiths

Starring Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, Rashida Jones, Olivia Colman and Ian McShane
In UK Cinemas February 14th, 2014

by Katie Benson

I feel I should start with a disclaimer: I love Nick Frost. As Mike in Spaced he was equal parts scary and adorable. Since those heady days, I’ve approached all of his film and TV projects with enthusiasm.

Enter Cuban Fury. The tagline is ‘real men dance’ and that’s an idea I can get on board with. The film centres around the stigma attached to British men dancing, particularly overweight men with low levels of self esteem.  But Nick Frost’s character Bruce Garett can dance, or at least he could before a traumatic incident caused him to extinguish the fire in his heels. When he falls for his new boss, salsa-loving Julia (played by Parks and Recreation’s Rashida Jones), he can only think of one way to win her heart.

The spanner in the romantic works is Bruce’s bullying faux-buddy of a team leader Drew (Chris O’Dowd). What comes across in the trailer as good old-fashioned banter and posturing, actually feels more like psychological torture when you factor in Drew’s unnecessarily crude jibes and misogynistic ideas about how to woo ‘the ladies’. This sour tone spoiled the feel of the film for me and I cringed all the way through the most awkward ‘fight’ scene I have ever experienced.

I was also less than convinced by the romance itself, which is based on a couple of awkward encounters and one chance discovery of a shared interest. Julia is lovely (although she does come across as rather naive for a hot-shot sales manager), but I’m not sure she’s worth all the fuss and pain that Bruce goes through to win her affection. The film’s corazón seems to be missing in action and to be honest, I found the romance between Spaced’s Mike and Tim much more convincing.

The supporting cast is impressive, but the biggest names are somewhat under-used. Olivia Colman doesn’t even get to cry for goodness sake. Ian McShane does put in a gleeful turn as Bruce’s sadistic old salsa teacher, and even at his worst, he is probably the film’s most believable character.

Nick Frost has clearly put a lot of work into his salsa moves and I’m sure he could dance me under any kind of table. But stylish shoes, sequins, and a whole lot of daft rivalry are not enough to make Cuban Fury a must-see film. Although, it did make me want to put on my own dance shoes, which is no bad thing.

One Response to “Cuban Fury”

  1. Peace is not only better than war.We are complex.Belongs to the people who inhabit it.

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