- RatedNC16 /GenreComedy
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Nick Frost is beloved, and rightfully so, for his work as Simon Pegg’s sidekick and best friend in cult classics such as ‘Shaun Of The Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘The World’s End’.
The portly Englishman has more than once proven his wonderful comic talent via that winning tag-team formula, but there have always been quiet rumblings as to whether Frost could make it on his own, outside of Pegg’s considerable shadow.
Feel-good workplace comedy ‘Cuban Fury’ presents us with Frost’s first stint as the leading funny man, but unfortunately, the by-the-numbers film hardly does Frost (or the brilliant cast) much justice.
Frost’s Bruce Garrett is a shy and overweight cubicle drone, the kind of office worker who is easy to root for despite (or perhaps because of) his pathetic circumstances. He spends his time commiserating with his golf buddies and putting up with his smug and condescending superior Drew (Chris O’Dowd).
Bruce’s existence remains quite mundane up until his gorgeous new American boss, Julia (Rashida Jones), shows up to reignite his love life. They have a couple of encounters but competition with the deluded Drew stifles his confidence.
Fortuitously, opportunity presents itself when he discovers that Julia is secretly a salsa enthusiast.
You see, Bruce used to be a salsa-dancing prodigy during his childhood. Sadly his remarkable rise through the UK Junior Salsa Championship was cut short after a bullying incident compelled him to abandon his boyhood passion in shame.
Now 25 years later, the out-of-shape and out-of-practice Bruce seeks to recapture his former brilliance in order to sweep Julia off her feet during the movie’s climactic dance contest.
To do that, he enlists the help of his former coach (Ian McShane) whose hilariously demanding methods provide the motivation that Bruce so desperately needs.
COOKIE-CUTTER CHARACTERS, FLAT-FOOTED SCRIPT
Along the way, Bruce is also supported by Bejan (Kayvan Novak), a dance student who is as effusive as he is campy. In his bit role, Novak manages to steal the show from his A-list co-stars as the most memorably outlandish performer among the other cookie-cutter characters.
As for Frost, he may be surprisingly graceful in this role, but Jon Brown’s script is as flat-footed as can be.
James Griffiths’ conspicuously television-level direction doesn’t help either, leaving us with a film that lacks the visual flair to match its energetic Latin soundtrack.
It’s a testament to their brilliance that Bruce and Drew’s adversarial relationship proves to be even mildly entertaining at all.
The players are talented and they do what they can to elevate this painfully uninspired rom-com, but ultimately, it is the lack of imagination off-screen that handicaps ‘Cuban Fury’.
‘Cuban Fury’ is now showing at cinemas