WITHOUT performances by Nick Frost as engineering draftsman Bruce, in his youth an aspiring dancer until a gang of bullies beat him up for being a sissy, and Chris O’Dowd as obnoxious Drew, a salesman for the same firm, the feature debuts of director James Griffiths and writer Jon Brown after TV-based careers might have gone straight to DVD.
“Cuban Fury” gets by with a little help from Rashida Jones as Julia, American eye candy newly appointed as sales manager, English rose Olivia Colman as Bruce’s barmaid sister Sam and Ian McShane as dance teacher and promoter Ron, down on his luck now seeking a better life in the vodka bottle.
Bruce and Drew compete for Julia’s hand hoping for full body access. The battlefield is the salsa dance floor. This gives Griffiths a chance to stage some energetic dance sequences which provide the film’s second-most-engaging passages.
What, I hear somebody ask, is its most engaging element? Nick Frost is the answer. This may come as a surprise to those who know him as a bigly-built lad of shortish stature, an improbable twinkle-toes. His dancing merits praise. So, too, does the single combat between Bruce and Drew using salsa as the weapon of choice.
British fluff, well-enough staged, sprinkled with quality gags, not demanding of audience engagement, “Cuban Fury” has no other apparent purpose than to divert us from life’s daily grind.
Much of Frost’s film career has been in company with Simon Pegg who here makes uncredited blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearances.
At Hoyts, Dendy and Limelight