A feel-good comedy dance movie
Loves: The Pegg/Frost/Wright films
Likes: Chris O'Dowd, Nick Frost, Rashida Jones
Dislikes: Dancing, douchebags
Hates: Dancing douchebags
With Cuban Fury though, Frost dances into the spotlight, taking the lead for the first time (though Pegg appears in a blink-and-you'll-miss-him cameo,) in a movie based on his own idea. Frost plays Bruce, a low-key engineer who, when he was a child, was a top competitive salsa dancer. Now, he's just doing his thing, having given up dancing following a bullying incident. His thing includes going back and forth to work on his strange transforming bike, hanging with his equally unsuccessful pals and being verbally abused by his ladies-man co-worker Drew (Chris O'Dowd.) A failure with the fairer sex, Bruce is nonetheless intrigued by the new boss at work, an American named Julia (Rashida Jones.) However, Drew has his sights set on her as well, and won't hesitate to make a move.
Bruce finds an opening though when he learns Julia likes to salsa dance. Inspired to re-discover his passion, he tracks down his old teacher, Rob Parfitt (Ian McShane, cosplaying as Tommy Wiseau), and starts the road back to the dance floor. Along the way, he gets encouragement from his sister (and original dance partner), played by the always amusing Olivia Colman (Rev.), and flamboyant Middle-Eastern dancer Bejan (Kayvan Novak). The movie doesn't offer any real twists, and you can certainly figure out where we're headed, but the journey is enjoyable, with all the hallmarks of a classic sports underdog film, just with salsa dancing substituted for football.
Frost is the right fit for the part, and he learned how to dance, giving it an entirely believable feel. He gets to play a bit of a straight man, allowing O'Dowd, playing a full-on jerk, and Bejan, doing a delightful ‘80s-flavored twist on the probably-gay foreigner bit, to shine with their elevated performances (Jones basically seems to be playing herself, adorable and slightly geeky.) Though there are plenty of genuine guffaws peppered throughout, this is more of a feel-good film than a laugh riot, punctuated by lots of fun dance scenes, especially a parking lot dance-off between Frost and O'Dowd that's the most memorable moment from the film. It may be a bit by-the-numbers, but the results are enjoyable to look at.
Another multi-part featurette, the three-segment "How to Dance Salsa with Nick Frost" (11:19), is not what it sounds like, instead showing the progress of Frost's dancing lessons, from months before shooting, through to the end of the film. The honesty is the best part, as it's not just praise for Frost for dancing, with the trainers noting the troubles he's having.
A "Q&A with Nick Frost" (8:53) arrives courtesy of "The B-Movie Podcast", as Frost answers a few questions following a screening of the film. Frost is a bit low-key, but if you're a fan, it's worth a look.
That's followed by what's essentially a trio of trailers, two of which are reels of clips built around themes, "Guide to Office Etiquette" (42 seconds) and "How to Salsa with Ron Parfitt" (1:23), while the other is the theatrical trailer (2:39), which gives away basically all the best parts of the movie.
The Bottom Line