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Cuban Fury



cuban furyReviewer: Luke Walkley

Director: James Griffiths

Stars: Nick frost, Chris O’Dowd, Rashida Jones, Ian McShane

Released: 14th February 2014 (UK)

From bumbling sidekick Ed in ‘Shaun of the Dead’, to the even more bumbling police officer Danny in ‘Hot Fuzz’, Nick Frost makes the transition into Leading Man and Executive Producer for ‘Cuban Fury’.

Written by Jon Brown and Directed by James Griffiths, Cuban Fury follows Bruce Garett (Frost) A former child Salsa star, who after being bullied for dancing, swaps the dance-floor for the office-floor. Bruce floats through life until his new American boss Julia (Rashida Jones) gives him a reason to live again and conveniently her love of Salsa dancing could be his way in. Battling his past he must also fight Drew (Chris O’Dowd) an alpha-male work colleague who also has his sights set on Julia. Bruce sets out to find his old dance coach Ron Parfait (Ian McShane) to help him get his dancing feet back and win Julia’s love.

With a Writer/Director combo with very little feature film experience between them it was going to be interesting to see how they made the step-up into film, with British TV series such as ‘Misfits’, ‘Episodes’ and ‘Fresh Meat’ under their belts, its comedy focus would surely not be a problem.

‘Cuban Fury’ is a slow-burner, it gathered pace in the final third and became a lot more enjoyable. However the hour that preceded it never found its footing, pacing issues meant jokes were too spaced out –which is fine, had the content filling the gaps been crucial – it attempts to create sympathy for Bruce but it’s hard to feel sorry for him as we never see a truly emotional side to his character. If this was a true comedy that wouldn’t be an issue, however it wants you to feel sorry for Bruce, you just never have real reason to after the one opening scene of him as a child being bullied.

This lack of character development is offset by some moments of hilarity; Frost provides his best moments when bouncing off O’Dowd especially a hilarious dance-off in the office’s car-park. However, the films best comedic scenes involve Bejan (Kayvan Novak) a fellow Salsa dancer Bruce meets at a dance class. The star of ‘Fonejacker’ among others, somewhat echoes Sacha Baron-Cohen’s rise to fame and he’s certainly someone to look out for in the coming years. Rashida Jones is solid in her role, though it’s a shame that we didn’t get to see much from a comedic point of view from her. She certainly has the ability as we saw in the US version of ‘The Office’, though she is more the object of affection rather than centre of attention. Ian McShane plays Ron, Bruce’s old dance teacher and mentor. Offering a more realistic and harsh view on Bruce’s life, he delivers a solid, if underwhelming performance.

As a movie overall, ‘Cuban Fury’ had potential; unfortunately it is not realized on screen. More character development and a perhaps darker focus at times on what Bruce’s life has become could have created a more fulfilling experience.. As a comedy it is a middle-of-the-road, easy to watch film that provides a few giggles, but not enough laugh-out-loud moments. It’s more ‘Cuban Slightly Annoyed’ than ‘Cuban Fury’.

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