It's always hard for a younger person to follow a passion or even an interest that breaks the "gender normal" roles traditionally defined by society: a girl playing rugby, a boy who wants to ice skate. Teasing is often a byproduct of such activity – so what happens to those who are broken by this? Or to the few who break through the teasing?
Following the story of Bruce Garrett (Nick Frost), a British teenage regional salsa-dancing champion, who suffers an attack at the hand of bullies, and in a flurry of sequins and fear gives up on salsa forever. Flash forward to the present and Bruce is stuck in an engineering Job that he convinces himself he likes, and lives a relatively solitary life. That is until his department is taken over and he falls for his new boss (Rashida Jones). After seeing her at a salsa class, Bruce decides to woo her by once again donning his inch-high boots and dancing.
There is nothing better than an underdog story – and with Frost as Garret, you can’t get a much bigger underdog. The film is very sweet at times, and very funny. Frost is perfect as Bruce, still bullied in his now adult life. It's refreshing to see Chris O’Dowd in a role that doesn’t have him as the loveable lark, but instead a chauvinistic bully – a character he seems to relish! An honourable mention needs to be made for Kayvan Novak, who is brilliant as Bejan, one of Bruce’s dance class buddies. He steals the show and is the only character who is consistently funny but mostly very strange.
In the end, it's the dancing that is the star of this film and it looks like the leads, Frost and Jones (and even O’Dowd) did some serious salsa training to get into shape for it – that said, it is pretty clear a lot of the real action is done by dance doubles. But, with a charming story, and honest and comedic performances, ‘Cuban Fury’ will be dancing its way into our hearts.