Cinema Review: Cuban Fury | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, May 31st, 2020  

Cuban Fury

Studio: eONE
Directed by James Griffiths

Apr 11, 2014 Web Exclusive
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After being viciously bullied for his love of salsa dancing, young Bruce Garrett gives up on his talent and dreams and grows up to be an overweight sad sack working a boring job. When he discovers that his gorgeous new boss shares his former passion, he tracks down his former instructor and attempts to reclaim his previous glory.

Nick Frost’s excellent reversal as the straight man to his frequent co-star Simon Pegg in last year’s The World’s End could be seen as a test run for something like Cuban Fury. Sure, Frost is still the source of much of the film’s humor, but he has now moved into the untested waters of emotionally anchoring a film on his own, rather than as part of a duo or ensemble. That Cuban Fury misses the mark as badly as it does comes down less to Frost—who is as game and as lovable as ever—and more down to writing and direction that just isn’t up to snuff.

Being about 70% romantic-comedy and 30% quirky underdog sports movie, to call the plot of Cuban Fury predictable would be an understatement. But that need not be a mark against a film of this sort if the moment-to-moment scenes and character interaction are engaging and original. The script certainly fails on that account.  Too much of the film is fat-guy-falls-down and tired gay panic jokes, the type of which should have been put out to pasture by the year 2014. The cast—which also includes Rashida Jones as the gorgeous yet approachable love interest, Chris O’Dowd as the obnoxious rival and the perpetually under-utilized Ian McShane as the crotchety mentor—are left playing caricatures of themselves with no depth to speak of, and little of the natural ease that is often the mark of a successful comedy.  Essentially nothing in this film has chemistry with anything else.

This especially extends to the directing and editing, the later of which is never more noticeable a comedy than when it’s being done poorly.  The scenes themselves lack punchlines, going on for a shot too long or finishing on gags that don’t even elicit a chuckle.  The plot has remarkably low stakes, a problem that stems from the crux of the protagonist’s insecurity being implausibly lame, even by the standards of a film that features a impromptu dance-fight.

Author rating: 3/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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