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"Cuban Fury": The Taste of British Salsa 

Wednesday, Apr 9 2014

Being about a meek Englishman who digs deep to unearth his dormant charisma, this first official solo Nick Frost star vehicle goes a safe and familiar route. Frost originated the idea and produced the film, written by Jon Brown and directed by James Griffiths, and although it lacks the mildly deranged magic Frost has in his various collaborations with fellow funnyman Simon Pegg (seen in fun cameo here) and director Edgar Wright, he's got to start somewhere — say, an affable if not quite riotous romantic comedy. A salsa sensation in his youth, Frost's character got bullied on the way to nationals once, and never recovered his confidence. He grew up to become a tubby sad sack, living the bad dream of corporate doldrums. Then his very attractive new boss (Rashida Jones) arrives from America, and she likes salsa too. Of course he has a serious rival for her affection (Chris O'Dowd), both in the office and on the dancefloor, but our hero knows what he has to do. What he has to do, foremost, is get help from his sister and former dance partner (Olivia Colman), his crusty onetime mentor (Ian McShane), and his flamboyantly encouraging fellow dance student (Kayvan Novak). Going through these motions, Frost is easy to like, and so's his supporting cast. In particular, such is the comic genius of O'Dowd that he can warm your heart even with the convincing portrayal of a smarmy dick. And such is the loveliness of Jones that she can seem effortlessly convincing as the muse to a man who'd once given up on himself. Ultimately, what Cuban Fury reminds us is that before all dance steps, there must be baby steps.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


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