Brit films are blazing bright in the critics’ Happy Faces file during the awards season while other lesser breeds suck on the detritus of shattered hope.
Cuban Fury struggles in the latter category with Nick Frost, Simon Pegg’s fat friend, impersonating the Hairy Biker from Strictly, except David Myers was more fun.
Bruce Garrett used to be a salsa champ when he was a kid, partnered by his sister, until the night of the national finals when a gang of youffs duff him up outside the stage door and scare him so much he quits.
Fast forward 20 years – or rather, don’t. The script slices the gammon thick. Bruce’s new boss at work is a hot lady from the States (Rashida Jones advertising dental hygiene with every smile) who’s into – you’ve guessed it!
The office Lothario (Chris O’Dowd), an ugly duckling who never changed, attempts to seduce her with laddish charm, but she prefers the little fella with man boobs and a jelly belly. Less pressure in the underwear dept.
Bruce’s ex-teacher was Ron Parfait (Ian McShane) who is still operating in the dance school game despite being a greasy long-haired alcoholic cynic, like Al Swearengen from Deadwood (same actor– – dhurr...). He takes one look at this pint-sized chubber and mouths “No way, Jose” in expletives.
Bruce wants to enter a local salsa competition, partnering his boss, to prove to the guys’n’gals in the office that he’s not the loser they think he is.
There have been endless coming-up-from-nowhere-to-win feelgood movies, the latest being One Chance with James Corden. This addition to the genre has a disastrous miscast centre stage.
Frost is lost from the start. His limited comedic talent cannot stretch to a faux South American dance devil with fire in his heels. Even the thought is terrifying.
What actors of distinction, such as McShane and Olivia Coleman, who plays Bruce’s grown-up sister, are doing here feels like a case of desperation in a credit crisis.
“Someone’s gotta pay the mortgage, darling.”
They should have sold the house.