Dancing is one of the greatest things that people can do and it brings people together from all over. Whether you’re doing the tango, the salsa, the mambo, slow-dancing, or making a complete fool of yourself, you’re having a great time and all is right in the world. Too often though, people become insecure about dancing and some don’t even attempt to try! Well, that needs to change because dancing is unlike anything a person can experience and be a part of. So, I challenge y’all to go dancing sometime this week. Whether it’s at home, or out with friends, go dance!
As a child, Bruce Garrett (Nick Frost) lived for Salsa dancing and he was the absolute best at it. He and his sister Sam (Olivia Colman) were an unstoppable duo and they were working their way to the top, until the day everything changed. Before his biggest dance, Bruce is bullied by some jerks for wearing flashy clothes and is told that dancing is for girls, ultimately shattering Bruce’s whole world. After that, Bruce gave up dancing and grew up, ultimately working a day job in an office. It’s clear he’s not happy, but things turn around when a new boss takes the reigns and reignites some passion in his heart.
Julia (Rashida Jones) is the new boss and she easily grabs the attention of everyone in the office. As it turns out, she’s also into Salsa dancing and practices all the time. Bruce isn’t the only one interested in him, as his jerk of a co-worker Drew (Chris O’Dowd) also wants Julia and is somewhat proficient in Salsa dancing. Thus begins Bruce’s journey to learn to dance again, but he can only do it with the help of his old coach, Ron Parfitt (Ian McShane). Can he regain those lost skills and impress his new love, before Drew does?
Cuban Fury will reignite any passion for dancing that you’ve ever had and it’ll also leave you feeling pleasantly surprised. Salsa dancing is easy to spot, but it’s no easy feat to participate in it. The music will move you, but people are often too reserved to let it all out. Fortunately, there’s a lot of comedy to be had with those who aren’t “particularly suited” to salsa dance and with the encounters they’ll have with other people. Proving that he doesn’t need Simon Pegg, Nick Frost’s idea for this film works and it’s executed pretty well.
Nick Frost, known as the other half of films such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul, and The World’s End, is on his own here and he’s magnificent. His lovable and realistic character offers up a lot of great laughs and emotion as he struggles to get back into the groove and defeat his work nemesis. The greatest thing, aside from Frost’s perfect timing, is his dancing ability because he’s really great. He’s so easy to root for and he keeps you consistently entertained. His opposite, O’Dowd, is a riot and he’s always cracking wise and leaving a lasting impression. Their feud is hilarious and the two work well off of one another.
Rashida Jones also holds her own, especially on the dance floor. Whether she’s awkwardly flirting with Frost, or deflecting O’Dowd’s advances, she fits right in and always brings a smile to your face. H is hilarious as Frost’s gay compatriot who re-outfits him and gets him ready for the big leagues and the two have some hilarious dialogue between them. Colman, a regular in Frost’s films, excels as well and all of the British humor you know and love doesn’t fail to entertain.
The dancing in this film is marvelous and equally inspiring. Watching the characters find freedom in the rhythm and the music is insanely thrilling and part of me wanted to join as the music swelled. Dance battles are a big component of this film and while most are stylish and professional, others are goofy and a ton of fun to watch. These actors did a lot of their own moves and that made the film even more enjoyable.
The film does fall flat when there’s no dancing going on and the focus shifts to Frost’s friends. They’re idiotic and their conversations go nowhere, meaning that you’re sitting there waiting for things to end. A lot of the jokes are hit-or-miss and there is never enough O’Dowd. The film’s not about him, but he’s just got the best presence on-screen and he had me howling in laughter. Unfortunately, I didn’t laugh like that during the rest of the movie. There’s also a good deal of time devoted to Ian McShane’s character who did absolutely nothing for me.
Cuban Fury is one of the better dance movies that I’ve seen (I’m looking at you all 8,000 Step-Up movies) and it doesn’t rely on new flashy dance forms (though those are cool) to win you over. The script is pretty funny and Frost and O’Dowd have great chemistry together. The two each bring their own comedic style that’s only heightened by their dancing rivalry. It’s not a consistently funny movie, but it brings enough joy and laughs to keep you entertained. Long live the comedic power of Nick Frost!
Cuban Fury Trailer