Lowdown: A fat man dances the salsa to win the day.
Not all movies are based on grand ideas. Actually, most movie aren’t; it’s just that in the case of Cuban Fury the superficiality of its core idea is so extremely blatant. Take one fat guy, Nick Frost, and make him do the exact opposite of expectations - make him dance the salsa in order to fulfil his life's ambitions. Does this British production manage to pull a worthy film out of this idea? With Nick Frost at the helm, aided by Chris O’Dowd? Of course it does!
The exposition tells us of Bruce’s (Frost) backstory. A young prodigy in the field of salsa, a would be champ, that – on the eve of his career’s peak – threw it all away following a particularly nasty bullying incident. Fast forward a couple of decades and we see Bruce in his current form: no longer the athletic dancer, but rather a seemingly boring engineer leading a seemingly boring life. And oh, he’s rather fat now. Plus he’s got an asshole of a boss in the shape of Drew (O’Dowd). Clearly, Bruce’s life is meant to seem wasted in the eyes of the viewer, even if it is vastly superior to that of at least 99% of all humans in the history of our universe.
Along comes a catalyst in the shape of a new boss. An attractive, female boss (Julia, played by Rashida Jones). She’s even an American (which seems to be perceived as some sort of an exotic spice by the British men around her; or is this meant to help market the film over the Atlantic?). Drew wants a piece of her; Bruce has a crash on her. Who will be the one to put their hand on the prize? Would it be the sleazy good looking guy or the fat one with a heart? Hint: Julia likes to Salsa.
The stage is thus set for Cuban Fury, your ordinary love triangle tale of “who gets the girl”. Would it be the likely but evil candidate or the unlikely but easy to sympathise with nice guy? A multitude of scenes relying on viewers' memories off Dirty Dancing and a bit of Rocky will set things right.
There are two things one takes for granted with Cuban Fury, both to do with the very essence of Nick Frost around whom this movie was erected. First, there will be the obligatory Simon Pegg cameo. And second, you will get Frost to dance the salsa. Not as much as one would expect given the title and the premises, but it will happen.
And that is really all that there is to it. An hour forty of easy fun in the company of actors who know how to make people laugh.
Best scene: The evil Drew and the good Bruce have themselves a dance-off at the roof of a parking lot. The winner takes the girl in this all or nothing event.
Overall: Plenty of good, if unassuming, fun to be had here. 3 out of 5 crabs.