Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cuban Fury

Despite the fact that I don't dance, or at least, I don't dance in public, I occasionally enjoy the odd dance movie and sometimes the odd dance show - though Dancing with the Stars has no appeal whatsoever.

I do however, love a good English film. What's not to love. Underdogs, banter, strange relationships with drinking too much alcohol as the norm, strange characters... the list of endearing qualities is nearly endless.

So when I saw Cuban Fury advertised it was quickly put on my must see list. Fat bloke Salsa dancing - how bad could it be?

Coming from the stable that brought the world "Sean of the Dead" one of the best zombie films ever made, along with "Run Fat Boy, Run", another film I can completely relate to, it goes along a fairly set path. Chubby fellow, attracted to girl well out of his league ("Like she's a butterfly and I'm a parsnip...") goes out of his way to get the girl. Combine this with the stock characters of the flaky sister and the douche canoe of the workmate, played with aplomb by Chris O'Dowd, and you have a good two hour diversion.

I have a bit of a connection to this film as in my twenties I shared a flat with a fellow who was a dancer. Dancers are another subset of humanity, just like left-handers, redheads and engineers. My flatmate would travel the length and breadth of London to go to his Ciroc meets. He'd practice, partnerless, in the lounge room in his socks. He was forever trying to get me to come along to these dance meets. As a non-dancer I had no desire to do this.

But I get the dancer mentality regardless. As a Shakespeare buff, people look at me the same way as they looked at my flatmate when he talked about dancing.

"The Parsnip" Nick Frost's character, Bruce, was a dancer in his teenage years who was mercilessly bullied before a major contest and never danced again. Bruce is a bit of a pitiful character, bullied about work by the work wanker, played with aplomb by Chris O'Dowd. Things heat up when the new boss, a woman, an attractive woman, comes into the engineering firm in which they work. The boss is also into Salsa dancing.

What follows is an hour a half of light entertainment. Perfect Friday night fodder. Underdog made good. The Parsnip subtly goes after the butterfly. The sleazy fellow gets his comeuppance. It's all there.

The highlights for me in this fun but formulaic film were NIck Frost's affable and slightly gormless Bruce and Ian McShane (Lovejoy, Deadwood) as his oily dance teacher, Ron Parfait. He's just magic.

This film I will place firmly in the group of movies that you can sit and enjoy without thinking too much. I'd take my mum to see it. She'd love it. Have to say, I really enjoyed it too. 

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