'Cuban Fury' Review: Nick Frost's Dance Flick Feels Like You've Seen It Before
Cuban Fury, written by and starring Nick Frost, is a romantic comedy dance flick that has a paint-by-numbers, formulaic feel despite the host of talent in its cast.
Much like other films of its variety, Cuban Fury begins with a glimpse back into the childhood of the protagonist that made the man (read: manchild) he is today. Bruce’s story is that he was a boy wonder in Cuban heels, making an unstoppable pair with his kid sister. But, when a bullying incident that involved a sequin gag occurs, he burned up those Cuban heels and grew up to be an office monkey with a fold-up bike.
Bruce is a bit portly and awkward, which means he needs a more fit and handsome foil of a coworker – Drew, played by Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids). The unlikely work pals then fittingly get into a covert contest to win the affection of the new, attractive, American and unattainable coworker Julia (Rashida Jones). O’Dowd, in the caveman role, runs with lewd jokes about closing the deal while Bruce – you guessed it – buys himself a new pair of Cuban heels. After all, it turns out Julia is quite the dance enthusiast herself.
Frost should be commended for his commitment to the dancing, and his sincerity makes it somewhat believable that he could have a chance with Julia, with Jones playing her with a healthy amount of humility. The suave jerk thing doesn’t work so well for O’Dowd, who would have been better suited to play one of Bruce’s friends or even Bruce himself. It was hard to buy him in his expensive Italian shoes and posing pantless in Julia’s home without invitation.
Cuban Fury is not without its moments. Although his gay Arabic dance class friend Bejan (Kayvan Novak) plays heavily into stereotypes, he has the film’s best one-liners. Also, Frost's frequent collaborator Simon Pegg has a noteable driveby cameo during a bent reality parking garage dance battle. Unfortunately, however, the inspired moments were too few – too much a product of assembly line cinema – to warrant much praise.