Dance movies have long been the staple fodder of Hollywood, with films like Step Up making frequent summer appearances at the box office. This Valentine’s Day sees an unusual British release though, with Cuban Fury, Nick Frost’s tongue in cheek comedy dance flick.
Frost plays Bruce Garrett, a child salsa protégé, bullied into quitting in his prime. A seemingly unattainable love interest arrives on the scene and inspires Bruce to put his Cuban Heels back on and get back on the dancefloor. Chris O’Dowd (of IT crowd fame) plays Garrett’s love rival, an impressively self-centred alpha male, desperate to steal Bruce’s crush.
A talented ensemble cast is what really makes this film great. Olivia Coleman (the ditzy female cop in Hot Fuzz) plays Garrett’s dance partner sister. Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation) plays the love interest female boss. Ian McShane (aka Lovejoy) is brilliant as a down and out salsa teacher, and Kayvan Novak (Sirens, Skins) steals the show with his turn as Bejan, a comically camp salsa student who helps guide Bruce back to the dancefloor.
…Bruce Garrett’s story of the Parsnip in love with a Butterfly sticks in the memory…
The whole film is stuffed with classic one liners and hyperbolic descriptions. In particular, Bruce Garrett’s story of the Parsnip in love with a Butterfly sticks in the memory long after the credits role. It’s a typical Nick Frost film, at times it feels the only thing that’s missing is Simon Pegg – ever since Spaced the duo’s work has been marked with this stylistic quick editing, one liners, and broadly comic ensemble casts.
Often with this film the subject matter is the source of the humour. The sight of Nick Frost poured into a silk and rhinestone outfit, or dancing in heels, is instantly funny. Slow motion, dripping sweat shops, in the style of dance film classics, become laughable when it’s Frost and O’Dowd doing the dancing.
…The Valentine’s Day release date makes this a great date movie…
It’s a simple formula – to transpose these comic actors into a unfamiliar setting – but it’s one that works. While not wildly original, the film is funny and enjoyable. At times it’s predictable and overly simplified, but the inevitable dramatic climax scenes are rewardingly hilarious. The Valentine’s Day release date makes this a great date movie – funny and charming without being challenging or controversial. It’s a solid movie as you’d expect from the talented cast, and well worth a watch.