Twitter Plot Summary: A man, who used to salsa as a youngster, takes up dancing again to impress his new lady boss.
Five Point Summary:
1. Nick Frost eating a yoghurt. Surprisingly funny.
2. Smarmy co-worker, good looking boss.
3. A mix tape? In this day and age?
4. Lunch time car park dance off!
5. The dance competition. Brilliant.
People tend to fall into two camps – those that dance, and those that don’t, and therein lies the theme for Cuban Fury. Bruce was a promising salsa dancer in his youth, when one night on his way to a championship final he is beaten up by a gang of bullies. From that day forward, he gave up on his dancing and retreated into his shell. Fast forward 25 years and Bruce works for a company that manufactures lathes (he’s rather a fan of them) when his new boss, the attractive Julia (Parks and Recreation’s Rashida Jones) arrives and he falls for her. Unfortunately for him, his incredibly horrible colleague Drew (O’Dowd) has set his sights on her as well, and so an unsuspecting love triangle forms. Fortunately for Bruce, he has a way in – Julia loves to salsa. And thus, Bruce visits his old mentor Ron (McShane, never sticking to one accent) to get some lessons and win her over.
It’s a surprisingly heartfelt story when all is said and done. Rather than heading down the obvious route of slapping the audience round the face with the central “man wants to win girl” story, that actually takes a back seat to watching Bruce regain his confidence and emerge from the protective shell into which he has retreated. As a result he makes new friends, finds his inner confidence and gets out into the real world where lathes are but a distant thought.
The highlight for me was the dance-off between Frost and O’Dowd. Not only did the dance moves look good, but it was also rife with zingy one liners and witty retorts. In some respects it’s a shame that the rest of the script didn’t contain as much pizzazz as this one scene, otherwise the overall score would be higher. It also has a very old school vibe to it, almost as if it should’ve been set in the 1990s rather than the present day – who in this day and age makes actual mix tapes on cassette? Seriously, I’d like to meet that person.
Perhaps getting the short end of the stick are the female characters, who despite being present from start to finish are limited in what their characters have to do. Olivia Colman, as Bruce’s sister, is seen serving drinks behind a cocktail bar for the majority of the story, then gets to dance a little by the finale. At least here her character is happy – makes a nice change from her usual choice of roles. Then there’s Julia who, other than being American and interested in salsa, has almost no depth. Alexandra Roach’s Helen is apparently there just because she’s Welsh and has a distinctive accent, and that’s about it.
I’d say that there are perhaps a few too many named characters in order for the story to have any additional impact, but of all of the supporting cast it’s clearly Kayvan Novak who steals the show. With a performance dialled up to 11, he’s extravagant and very almost a total caricature. Fortunately he’s so good at what he does, it never feels laborious and he fits in surprisingly well with the rest of the cast who are, admittedly, much more realistic in their delivery.
And then of course there is the dancing. Frost impresses with his nimble moves and is proof that, with the desire and time to do so, anybody can dance. And, if this film is anything to by, women love a man who can dance. A slightly flawed piece of work then, but I would say very likely to entertain.