Cuban Fury – Review

 

Of the solo careers formed out of the Blood & Cornetto trilogy, it would be fair to say that Nick Frost stands out as being quite short changed. Simon Pegg has his Mission: Impossibles and Star Treks, Edgar Wright has Scott Pilgrim and Ant-Man, but poor Nick Frost’s highest profile solo gig, in the ten years since taking off the “I got wood” T-shirt, has been as the comic relief drug dealer in Joe Cornish’s astonishingly overrated council estate alien-invasion flick Attack The Block. Clearly something’s amiss, or Frost simply drew the short end of the straw (even Kate Ashfield managed to bag a role in Nymphomaniac). Needless to say it’s been a poor run for Frost, but sadly Cuban Fury, despite being infinitely better than it’s marketing would suggest, will do little to boost his profile.

 

The story of a former child salsa prodigy who turned his back on his gift following an altercation with bullies, Cuban Fury sees the now grown-up character of Bruce re-learning dance in order to impress his quintessentially glossy American boss, rediscovering his lost self-confidence along the way. As far as plots go, it’s hardly Inception, hell, it’s barely even Blades Of Glory at times, but it’s a passable enough backbone for a decently likeable movie that may not elicit the once-a-minute belly laughs it so desperately craves, but it will at least earn a periodic chuckle and a smile.

 

Frost is perfectly fine in the (admittedly, rather underdeveloped) lead, proving himself very game for a movie in which the central gag for the first act is “don’t fat people look funny dancing?”. It’s noticeable that Frost seems more interested in his own performance once the character’s arc begins to progress, his early scenes feeling very phoned-in and half-hearted, luckily the film does pick up, and likewise Frost’s performance. Chris O’Dowd makes a fair play for stealing scenes as Frost’s requisite sleazy rival colleague, although one can’t help but think he was a last minute addition to the cast given the staggering number of references to how good looking he supposedly is. Rashida Jones meanwhile is likeable enough as the erstwhile love-interest, although her role isn’t terribly well thought-out and seems a waste given how great Jones can be on screen. The film’s trifecta however comes in the form of Olivia Colman, Kayvan Novak and Ian McShane; the three of whom bring enough sheer likeability and wit to the film that it’s incredibly difficult to dislike.

 

It’s a premise that’s been done to death and then some, literally the oldest storyline in the history of comedy, and yet there are enough moving pieces to Cuban Fury that it manages to just about hold its head above water throughout. Sure, it’s predictable, it’s uneven, it resembles nothing of the real world and falls back on Waj from Four Lions playing Bruno far too often, yet it’s just likeable enough to make you overlook its goofy sensibility and overused concept.

 

 

Catch Van Connor’s reviews in our Movies section and live on Slam Dunk Cinema every Saturday at 12PM on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM or on the podcast via iTunes.

 

In it
Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd

Behind it
James Griffiths




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