'Cuban Fury' is a dance comedy dud

Nick Frost (left) - wait, where's Simon Pegg? - & Chris O'Dowd.
Nick Frost (left) - wait, where's Simon Pegg? - & Chris O'Dowd.
Posted: April 11, 2014

THERE are moments in "Cuban Fury," lots of them, when you wish it had been about an old Plymouth making taxi runs in Havana.

Or the owner of the Dallas Mavericks bitching about the NFL.

Alas, it's a purported comedy about chubby milquetoast Bruce (Nick Frost), who tries to woo his pretty new boss Julia (Rashida Jones) by reviving a long-dormant interest in salsa dancing.

Bruce is a former youth salsa champion who was bullied out of his love of dancing, and now tries to reconnect with his old instructor (Ian McShane), gruff but lovable, who makes his former pupil grovel a bit before helping out.

You wait for the big montage - the set-to-music sequence in which rusty old Bruce drills and practices and slowly emerges as a light-on-his-feet and slightly thinner new man, brimming with confidence and ready to compete for Julia on the dance floor or anywhere else.

But, whoops, he's the same flat-footed guy he was when he started, not a pound lighter. Certainly he's thicker than the stunt double they trot in to handle the trickier dance moves, and this takes much of the fun out of "Cuban Fury." The whole point of casting a guy like Frost is to get the Belushi/Farley/mayor-of-Toronto charge out of seeing a large, lumpy fellow do something unlikely and acrobatic.

Still, Frost actually comes off better than Chris O'Dowd, cast as a boorish self-styled lothario who tries to steal Julia in front of too-shy Bruce's very nose.

Women may well ask: What's in this for Julia? She is, after all, not just some "bird," she's the two men's boss. And Jones can write and direct her own funny comedies, begging the question of how she ended up here.


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