Cert: 15 / 98 mins / Dir. James Griffiths
Among the opening credits of the movie are the words "based on an original idea by Nick Frost". While I like Frost very much, this movie wouldn't know an original idea if one bit it on the arse. That's strike one. It'd be untrue to say I was disappointed by Cuban Fury as I was expecting it to be rubbish, but I at least expect the film to act like it's interested...
It appears that Mr Frost has examined his buddy's film Run Fatboy Run, and taken it as an Approved Formula For Mainstream Success™, rather than the Warning From History™ that everybody else remembers watching*1. The producers of Fury have assumed that their entire audience is so au fait with the mechanics of the underdog-romcom that they don't have to bother trying to inject any tension into the screenplay. At all. There's never any doubt that the former salsa dancing champion will become a great salsa dancer again; there's never any serious threat in the romantic stakes from Chris One-Note O'Dowd*2; there's never anything other than the glaring certainty that the former dancing champion and the recreational dancer he's besotted with will be together by the end credits as they're essentially "getting on really well" for the entire film; and there are fewer inevitabilities in this universe than when you book Ian McShane as a supporting character in your comedy, he'll turn up and play Ian McShane. That's strike two.
The best gags are all in that trailer, but if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the film, really. There are several chucklesome moments throughout the movie, largely due to the supporting cast in the shape of Olivia Coleman, Rory Kinnear and Kayvan Novak, but they're really just leaning over the side of a battleship with dinghy paddles. At best, the film is astoundingly average, and it's frequently not even that. For what it's worth, Nick Frost is good as lapsed salsa-star Bruce Garrett, and it's clear he's put the work into perfecting the dancing, but his path to redemption is more of a moving walkway, with minimal dramatic effort required from all concerned. Rashida Jones' part is so chronically underwritten that all she can do is play Female Lead In RomCom™ until a throughly lacklustre finale. It's not even a bad film; it can't even be bothered to do that right.
For a movie with an exercise-pastime as its central conceit, it's ironic that Cuban Fury can be so staggeringly lazy. I was expecting a by-the-numbers romcom, but this film just gives you the start and end numbers and asks you to fill in the rest yourself.
Frost, you're far, far better than this.
That's strike three. Get off my dancefloor.
The trailer is the film.
No. And it doesn't set out to achieve that much, either.
Not of my own volition.
Was the Back To The Future reference a little heavy-handed?
I think it was. Discuss.
*1 I'm not even going to try and bolster this one. Run Fatboy Run is a fucking lazy film for fucking lazy audiences.
*2 Even though O'Dowd usually plays Affable Idiot™, and in Cuban Fury he plays Irritating Idiot™, he's still just Chris O'Dowd™. Feel sorry for Dawn Porter; she's got to live with it. No wonder she keeps sending him off to do films.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.