Sunday, 23 March 2014

Film Review: "Cuban Fury" (2014).




The tagline of the film’s poster reads "All’s fair in love and salsa”, this describes perfectly what Cuban Fury brings to the dance floor! This romantic comedy film starring Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, Chris O'Dowd, Olivia Colman and Ian McShane. The film centers on a former teen salsa champion whose career was ruined, Bruce Garrett, is now a sad-sack engineer. But his passion for dancing is re-ignited by his crush on his gorgeous new boss, Julia, and he attempts to make a comeback. But the only way he can win her over is by mastering the art of dance. Now all Bruce needs to do is rediscover his inner passion (and lose 15 stone).

The performances in this film were all brilliantly and hilariously portrayed. Thanks to the cast of Jones, O'Dowd, Colman and McShane. But mostly to Frost's performance and contribution behind the scenes as he conceived the idea for the film. The film rides on Frost, who carries it with charm, grace and plenty of heart. Frost on the dance floor was like a peacock on amphetamines. He struts like crazy. Nick Frost delivers one of the great physical performances of the year. Frost gets so far inside the role he seems capable of a human and dramatic note; even the dramatic moments are unerring. Though I thought the sexual innuendoes, between the characters of Frost and O'Dowd, was quite excessive but still managed to keep its lustre from becoming a pile of cliches.

I enjoyed other dance films such as Billy Elliot (2000), Dirty Dancing (1987), Footloose (1984), Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Shall We Dance? (1996) so much. But Cuban Fury offers pleasures of its own. Five minute into the film and you know this picture is onto something, that it knows what it's talking about. The way the film has been directed and shot, we feel the vigorous pull of the salsa esque world, and the poppiness is transformed. These are among the most hypnotic salsa dance scenes ever filmed. At its best, the film gets at something deeply heartfelt: the need to move, to dance, and the need to be who you'd like to be. The film rocks to an exhilarating beat. However, it’s a tired and relentlessly predictable story of love between a man who is desperately trying to impress the woman of his dreams, who is way out of his league, with salsa dancing. It's not a bad gimmick, but the movie turns tediously sentimental fast. If the ending of the film is too neat and inspirational, the rough energy of the film's song and dance does carry one along, past the whispered doubts of better judgment. To conclude, there's nothing groundbreaking in the film, but it's a pleasant diversion starring the always amiable Nick Frost, with Chris O'Dowd relishing his role as a slimeball. If the film launches Frost into bigger and better films, it's worth it.

Simon says Cuban Fury receives:


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