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Cuban Fury - Review

Cuban Fury

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

NICK Frost in a comedy about salsa dancing sounds like the kind of comedy that’s going to dance to a particular beat – the physical variety where the embarrassing pratfalls of a large guy take centre stage.

And to be fair, Cuban Fury does exactly what you’d expect right down to the shy guy winning the girl against the odds. But it’s also a useful indicator of Frost’s comedy appeal and has some eye-catching support that helps to paper over the hit-and-miss nature of the jokes.

Frost is better known as one half of the Simon Pegg partnership responsible for hits such as Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz and, up until now, looked content to offer scene-stealing support rather than shouldering the burden of carrying a complete movie.

So it’s a measure of his own confidence in movies that he’s now comfortable taking the spotlight and his central performance here is one of the movie’s plus points.

He is playing a version of the persona we’ve long been familiar with but he carries the responsibility in suitably amiable fashion as Bruce, a one-time salsa protege who turned his back on the dance after being humiliated by bullies.

Now overweight and toiling away at work, where he’s the butt of the jokes of his brash colleague, Drew (Chris O’Dowd), his passion for salsa is rekindled when he finds himself falling for his new boss Julia (Rashida Jones), who just happens to enjoy a good salsa in her spare time.

Enlisting the help of grizzled former teacher (Ian McShane), Bruce resolves to let his dance skills do his talking even though it places him in competition with Drew.

Directed by James Griffiths, Cuban Fury does sometimes frustratingly conform to the rigid confines of awkward British situation comedy but it also has a couple of aces up its sleeve in addition to Frost.

McShane is good value as his teacher, O’Dowd is a suitably outlandish office jerk (albeit a little too one dimensional) and Jones is suitably sweet, while in Kayvan Novak’s outrageously camp fellow dancer Bejan there is a laugh out loud scene stealer who gives proceedings a boost whenever he’s on-screen.

Several good sight gags also work, including a dance off between Frost and O’Dowd, as do the odd one-liner and there’s even a blink and you might miss it cameo that could well bring the house down.

Hence, Cuban Fury is the type of film that works in spite of its flaws. It’s a solid crowdpleaser that has to rate as a big personal success for Frost, whose own idea it originated from.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 98mins
UK Release Date: February 14, 2014