Former salsa champion turned chubby engineer Bruce Garrett (Nick Frost) has no doubt his new boss Julia (Rashida Jones) is way out of his league, “like a butterfly to a parsnip”. But when he finds out Julia is also a salsa enthusiast, he digs out his dancing shoes and decides to return to the passion he was bullied out of.
If the first thing that pops into your mind when I say salsa is Nick Frost, you are lying. He’s white. He’s fat. But dancing is not about shape and after a 6-month training he delivers really cool dance sequences, spinning around the dancefloor with Rashida Jones and Olivia Colman in Cuban Fury. The whole salsa atmosphere is very festive and the music and bright sparkly costumes are most welcome at this gloomy time of year: Cuban Fury is definitely the feel-good film to brighten up a rainy day. The enjoyment Bruce gets out of dancing is obvious; this is what he’s passionate about and in that respect the film is much more about blossoming into a sport he loves rather than getting the girl.
Actually, the romance arc is rather corny and unsurprising; boy awkwardly meets girl, there’s a cooler guy around who’s also a douche on the inside and takes credit for boy’s adorable attempts at wooing girl, etc. But the writers and director James Griffiths know how to make the most of the situations and characters to deliver an hour and a half of laughs from funny one-liners to crazy over-the-top comedic scenes like the dance-off/fight between Bruce and his nemesis Drew (Chris O’Dowd).
Kayvan Novak stands out as Bejan, one of Bruce’s friends from salsa class. Bejan is probably the funniest character in the film because he is crazy, random, and has the best (read, worst) catchphrases. The guy makes still Fanta. On purpose. Nick Frost told me that a potential sequel could revolve around Bruce and Bejan trying to open a dance club in Teheran and yes, maybe he made that up on the spot but on the off-chance that it’s true, let’s make Cuban Fury a hit.
In short: Cuban Fury is an effective feel-good comedy that will make you laugh and want to hop onto the dancefloor.
Cuban Fury is released in UK cinemas on 14 February