Beneath Bruce Garrett’s under-confident, overweight exterior, the passionate heart of a salsa king lies dormant. Now, one woman is about to reignite his Latin fire.
Year 2, Film #72
THE REVIEW: One kind of film that I will always be able to connect with and be entertained by is that which centers around a lovable yet nervous, shy, and introverted man who chases after something he cares for deeply. I’ve watched a handful of these films over the course of the marathon and I will continue to watch them becauseI find them so very poignant. Each film is a little reminder for me. A reminder not only to see how far I’ve come in life, but how far I’ve yet to go and how I should never give up, no matter how hard that may seem or how rarely I actually try. Cuban Fury may not be quite up to the caliber of some of the films I listed above, but it certainly did it’s job of providing a very solid hour and a half worth of laughs and entertainment.
Nick Frost is easily the star of this film and carries it from beginning to end. That’s not to say the other elements of the film (including the other actors) are bad in any way. Quite the contrary. The rest of the film supports Nick Frost as much as he supports the film. He is the linchpin; the glue that holds everything together. But with that same token, if there’s nothing else to the film, there’s nothing for the glue to hold together. Nick Frost, who came up with the idea for the story, plays the main character, 38-year-old Bruce Garrett. Starting in 1987, we see 13-year-old Bruce excel at his salsa dancing, winning competition after competition until a gang of bullies beats his love and passion for dancing out of him completely. Fast-forward to the present day and right away you can see the effect it’s had on Bruce. He’s afraid to speak his mind and stand up for himself. Even with his friends he exhibits hesitation and resistance to all that’s new. But Nick Frost makes Bruce instantly likable, and especially after your introduced to his cruel boss Drew (Chris O’Dowd), you want nothing but the best for Bruce.
The story that unfolds after that is pretty self-explanatory and nothing really special happens. Bruce and Drew get a new boss, Julia Matthews (Rashida Jones) who both of them are attracted to. Drew, being the bolder and more confident man seems to have the upper hand until we discover that, suprise surprise, Julia likes to salsa dance. Luckily for Bruce, he’s an old-pro. Unluckily for him, after twenty-five years, he needs to brush up on his moves. This leads him to find his old instructor, Ron Parfitt (Ian McShane), and try to convince him to coach him again. Pretty much as textbook romantic-comedy as they come. No big surprise twist ending, no big reveal or change. Simply a standard story, but one that you still have a lot of fun watching and makes up for predictability with hilarity and wonderful characters.
Entertainment — comedy especially — is extremely subjective. Everyone has a kind of film that they instantly like and even though objectively a film may have some flaws to it, like the over-used and unsurprising story in Cuban Fury, there’s something inherent to the film that makes it appealing to a select few. Given the 54% it currently has on [Rotten Tomatoes], it looks like one of those films that most people just overlook and ignore because to them, this style of comedy and genre of film has been way overdone. And I get that. But even to those people I say it’s a decent enough movie that if it ever comes across TV or you see it scrolling through Netflix one day, it’s a good way to procrastinate on that project that’s due tomorrow. If you’re like me however, seeing Nick Frost bring the character of Bruce Garrett to life will bring a smile to your face for ninety straight minutes because you can’t help but relating to everything that Bruce feels. Because while you may be sitting at your computer reading this thinking, “What in the world is this guy talking about? I don’t care about how he relates to this film”, I’ll point you in the direction of this spot-on piece from Louis C.K. about how, “It gets better.” Bruce Garrett is a perfect illustration of how things get better. (Even if it is just a film).
Cuban Fury opens in theaters this Friday, April 11, 2014.
THE RATING: 4 out of 5