Opening 19 Jun 2014
Writing credits: Jon Brown, Nick Frost
Principal actors: Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, Chris O'Dowd, Ian McShane, Kayvan Novak
Old worn-in sneakers can provide cozy comfort thus a feeling of contentment. As can a movie with a comfortable, known formula. Leaving the theater after watching Cuban Fury, I felt ‘comedy’ content, a la worn-in sneakers. The film was easy to watch, it had a predictable storyline and an inevitable ending. Predictability can be a comfort. Nothing heavy, no “what is life?” questions to be answered. The film had several good chuckles and a storyline that yet again shows that human nature propels us to want to be better than we are. With hard work, focus and personal integrity finding happiness and satisfaction is reachable.
The protagonist is Bruce Garrett (Nick Frost), an under-confident, overweight former salsa dancer who finds his way back to the dance floor (25 years later) and rediscovers himself. The different characters in his life provide support, humor, friendship, roadblocks and love. Bruce navigates his way through this maze to show us (with lively salsa dance and music) that no matter who has tried to break you or what others try to label you -- you are important to yourself and thus to others.
Two notable performances by actors are 1) the old Salsa pro who is played by Ian McShane and 2) Bruce’s campy salsa friend played by Kayvan Novak. Both of their performances really add to the film.
So, at the movie’s end I felt happy, had some good laughs, saw human nature triumph and danced out of the theater with a little salsa step coming from my sneakers. (Abby Myers)
Under the introduction titles we learn about an event and its impact 25-years previously: Ron’s (Ian McShane) prize dance team missed the UK Junior Salsa Championship. Now Sam (Olivia Colman) tends bar, and brother Bruce (Nick Frost) swore off dancing for life. Obese and lacking confidence, he is off women too… until the new boss (Rashida Jones) arrives. His department manager (Chris O’Dowd) – thin, outgoing – sets his sights on her, “look but don’t touch, leave it to the sexperts.” Accidentally Bruce discovers her passion for salsa; flabbergasted, Sam encourages but Ron quickly realizes he needs help brushing up. Turning to Ron, still angry with him, Bruce has to first prove his sincerity, and then follow instructions. And reignite his love of dancing in his heart. Old friends (Rory Kinnear, Tim Plester) and new (Kayvan Novak, Yanet Fuentes, Alexandra Roach) are thunderstruck when Bruce struts his stuff: “Salsa, it’s all about women.”
Based on Jon Brown’s screenplay, James Griffiths’ direction has us believing anything is possible. Frost holds his own without his buddies (The World’s End) and O’Dowd’s switch from amicable likeability (The Sapphires) to alpha-obnoxious jerk is smooth. We learn each one’s fate during the end credits. There may be a few flat jokes and a formulaic plot, but this feel-good movie will send you dancing out of the cinema with a big smile in your heart. (Marinell Haegelin)