If you’re looking for the edgy humor of “Shaun of the Dead” in Nick Frost’s recent appearance “Cuban Fury”, you won’t find it. Cuban Fury is a little gentler and safer – but for all that, it taps into a universal theme of finding one’s inner fire when it seems as though the world wants to put it out.
Here, Nick Frost plays Bruce Garrett, who was a salsa dancing prodigy in his childhood until a bullying incident led him to hang up the sequined shirts for good. 20 years later, he is a shy and overweight mechanical engineer, the butt of jokes by his entirely unredeemable co-worker Drew. Drew (Chris O’Dowd) is a sneering wannabe alpha male who expects to get any woman he’s interested in.
When Bruce and Drew’s new boss (Rashida Jones) arrives on the scene, she attracts the attention of both Bruce, who has a number of haphazard but sweet encounters with her, and Drew, who figures Bruce is just there as a foil to make him look good. When it turns out that she dances salsa as well, that’s enough to make Bruce finally decide to go back for some salsa dancing lessons with his old mentor (Ian McShane). He’s in for some humbling in the dance studio before he starts to get his moves back.
From here, the conclusion of the movie is not too hard to predict. What makes this movie worth watching is Bruce’s journey as he has to find the courage to get back to what he loved, the humility to be a beginner again, and the fierceness to dance wholeheartedly without fear of disapproval or rejection. (Okay, and the epic salsa dance fight scene between Bruce and Drew is fun too!)
Kayvan Novak delivers a hilarious performance in the wacky-instigator-friend role who helps Bruce shed the engineer look for something more flashy. Also watch for a brief cameo by Frost’s partner from “Shaun of the Dead”, Simon Pegg.
The movie itself takes few risks, through it is refreshing to see a leading character with a different body type being successful in wooing a more conventionally attractive woman. But the message you can take away from the movie is to be fierce and take risks, and don’t let opposition or judgment stop you from doing what’s in your heart.
Pranada Devi is a communications professional living in Toronto, Canada. She is the Managing Editor of Parvati Magazine, and serves as an advisor on marketing communications for Parvati’s various projects. Recently, she edited Parvati’s new book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie”, which has gone on to sell out its first two printing runs.