Former teen salsa champion Bruce Garrett (Frost) is now a sad-sack engineer. But his passion for dancing is re-ignited by his crush on his new boss (Jones).
Anyone familiar with Spaced will know that Nick Frost is capable of busting some serious dance moves (including, but not limited to, the Salute, the Double Pointer and the Death By Head Shot). So it’s fitting that his first big-screen solo outing puts him back on the floor. Cuban Fury, based on a drunken email Frost sent to producer Nira Park, is not the most original comedy you’ll see this year. But it’s smartly cast, peppily put together and will very likely make you feel warm, fuzzy or both.
Frost is Bruce Garrett, a tubby lathe specialist who spends his days cueing up boring slideshows in boardrooms. His secret: as a youngster, he was a twinkle-toed salsa champion, halted from becoming the next Tony Manero by an encounter with bullies who made him eat his sequins. After The World’s End, it’s another quiet, dialled-down performance from Frost, but that’s no bad thing. His innate likability is still there, but there’s sweetness and soul too. The clowning is left to Chris O’Dowd, as office sleaze Drew, a man who would shag the photocopier if someone put a blonde wig on it.
The two make a fine double act, particularly when they head to an industrial car park to partake in an angry dance-off, which incorporates somersaults, pirouettes and possibly the least surprising surprise cameo of all time. The sequence (briskly cut together by director James Griffiths) is the movie’s highlight; it’s just a shame Drew is phased out of the story before the big finish.
Not all of the characters are so well drawn, however. Cuban Fury is both overstuffed and underwritten: Bruce’s second golfing buddy is superfluous, while Ian McShane isn’t given much to do in a grizzled-mentor role that basically reprises his shtick from Hot Rod. Likewise, the ever-lovable Rashida Jones, as the sparky American pursued by both Bruce and Drew, may as well be named Generica. The real standout in the support cast is Kayvan Novak (Four Lions), whose over-enthusiastic, Fanta-loving salsa-maniac, Bejan, brings down the house on multiple occasions.
It’s Frost’s show, though, and bodes well for his career away from Pegg and Wright. He can do laughs. He can do emotion. He can also — as one scene proves — do a Scarface impression that’s reason enough for a remake.
Saturday Night Fever by way of Strictly Come Dancing, Frosts solo movie lacks the inventive madness of his Cornetto team-ups, but its still a heartfelt blast of fun.