Salsa dancing has seeped into modern society like a sheepish plague; you’ll find its spicy fire burning in the basement of pubs and up dark, rickety staircases but people seem too afraid to unmask themselves and admit that their particular way of unwinding is to descend into the lusty heat of salsa.
Even the gorgeous new boss Julia (Rashida Jones) somewhat guiltily admits her dancing hobby, and one can only imagine the torment that Nick Frost’s bashful and reserved character goes through before transforming into “Bruce the salsa dancer” (cue incriminating homoerotic scenes and a fierce golf ball attack from his best friend).
Cuban Fury presents an uplifting and liberating fresh outlook on the role of masculinity in modern day cinematic romance. With an emphasis on the need for heart, Bruce takes on the long-legged, piercingly blue-eyed office slimeball (Chris O’Dowd – like you’ve never seen him before) in the fight to win over the sexy, tanned, salsa dancing Julia. But Bruce has a secret that will, for once, put him ahead of his over-confident colleague. All he needs is the fire.
The more hips curl the more the characters blossom in this heartwarming film, but while the Frost comedic charm is not wanting, a touch more of pure silliness would have added to the spice of the film. A confrontation with his old dance teacher (Ian McShane) in a salsa club, where curled fists and a fiery outline precede a flurry of fancy footwork, remind us of the genius acting that Frost is famed for. In spite of this there was no lack of guffawing one-liners, and there was even a very well-placed glimpse of an old familiar face that pleased the audience no end.
Through the juxtaposition of bright, confronting blues and dark, exotic silks and sequins, James Griffiths has managed to portray how, when the crippling oppression of the office becomes too much, there is a remedy to be found in the fun and good humour of salsa. If the lovable cheese of Bejan (Kayvan Novak) isn’t infectious enough, Ian McShane’s deadpan huskiness rightly challenges the conventions of masculinity that have been embedded in dancing and popular culture for too long.
Cuban Fury is released in the UK on 14th February 2014.
Watch the trailer for Cuban Fury here: