The dance floor is a welcome space for exercising demons; lust, regret, redemption have been stomped and swirled across those tiles in many a movie, and Cuban Fury makes no exception.
The inebriated creation of a fearless Nick Frost, aided by producer and long-standing collaborator Nira Park, this is a comfortably funny tale of finding your feet, and those feet are moving to the sounds of salsa.
Frost is Bruce, timid and approachable, who gave up on his dancing talents after a cruel encounter with a group of unruly youths. Now middle-aged and underachieving, his foot starts tapping after he meets and instantly falls for his new boss (an agreeable Rashida Jones). Keen to woo his crush, Bruce slips on his dancing shoes and approaches his old mentor, a leathery Ian Mcshane with a chip on his shoulder and an ambiguous demeanour.
Also standing in his way is Drew, a co-worker bully played by Chris O’Dowd, who seems to have a great time channelling Ron Burgundy in a poorly fitting shirt. Supporting cast include Olivia Coleman as Bruce’s sister and former dancing partner and Facejacker’s Kayvan Novak as a grotesquely camp soda chugging salsa fanatic, both delightful if slightly underused.
There is nothing ground-breaking about Cuban Fury. It shares the same narrative arc as any sports or competitive film, with a gritty and turbulent path to glorious triumph, and its distinct British tones resonate with films like Run Fatboy Run, starring Frost’s creative partner Simon Pegg.
Even with a blindingly obvious conclusion this is still good fun to watch. Frost’s strong likability surpasses his comedic talents, although he still needs his supporting cast to carry the film. The dance sequences are hardly Strictly Ballroom but still insist that you enjoy watching them, and with Fresh Meat and Misfits writer Jon Smith behind the script expect a gleeful mix of humour and sincerity between Frost and his cast.