Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cuban Fury (2014) ***

I like a deep, finely-crafted movie as much as the next guy, but I'm also an advocate of the occasional fun, silly, predictable piece of fluff, as long as it's done right. “Cuban Fury” is a nice specimen of the genre. 

 Nick Frost, whose name I usually say in the same breath with Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), stars sans-Pegg in this one. He plays Bruce, a doughy, mousy designer of industrial lathes whose meek exterior hides the fact that, as a boy, he was a salsa-dancing sensation, with a promising career in competitive dance. The young Bruce gave up dancing after bigger boys beat him up and teased him for it, and now he lives a boring, lonely life, still pushed around by bullies like his co-worker Drew (Chris O'Dowd). When Bruce and Drew get a pretty, new boss (Rashida Jones), Bruce doesn't even consider trying to hit on her (“She's a 10 and I'm a 2.”) until he discovers that she is a salsa-dancing enthusiast. This awakens something in Bruce, and suddenly he is strapping on the dancing shoes and challenging Drew for their boss's heart.

“Cuban Fury” isn't going to surprise you. The plot proceeds exactly as you would expect. The movie also doesn't waste time exploring the inappropriateness of Julia (Rashida Jones) dating either of these guys who work under her. You just have to go with it, and focus on the fun music and dancing. Rashida Jones is as cute as ever, especially in her feminine, salsa dresses. She plays Julia with a nice edge of nerdiness that explains how a hottie like her might actually go for Bruce. Frost acquits himself well, and Chris O'Dowd, who usually plays such wholesomely likeable guys (“Bridesmaids” “The Sapphires”) is fun to watch playing a jerk. 

 One word of warning: O'Dowd is shown in his underwear, and it's not a lovely sight. Why couldn't it have been Rashida?!

3 stars out of 5

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