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Cuban Fury Reviews

The clumsy fat man has been a comedy trope since the silent era, and it continues to thrive today with the ongoing career of Kevin James. Even if James Griffithsí Cuban Fury accomplishes nothing else, it allows its hefty star, Nick Frost, to leave that tired cliche behind and show that girth and grace can go hand in hand.   Frost plays Bruce Garrett, an expert on lathes (his coffee mug at work insists that he loves lathes) and a onetime champion salsa dancer as a teen -- however, he gave it all up when some bullies administered a beating while he was on his way to an important tournament. He hung up his shoes long ago and now has a white-collar, nine-to-five job, but when he learns that his new boss, a very pretty American businesswoman named Julia (Rashida Jones), takes salsa lessons, he thinks this might be the way to win her heart.   In order to scrape the rust off, he pays a visit to his former teacher, the no-nonsense Ron Parfitt (Ian McShane), who still holds a grudge against Bruce for quitting on him 20 years earlier. As the gruff instructor puts Bruce through his paces again, our hero discovers that Drew (Chris OíDowd), his frenemy at work, is already in hot pursuit of Julia and plays by the old adage that allís fair in love and war.   Written by British TV veteran Jon Brown, Cuban Fury has the kind of solidly constructed, functional script that lives or dies on the strength of its performers. If you like the actors, youíll like the film, and thankfully the entire ensemble delivers. Frost is charming, sweet, and proves himself a credible dancer; Jones plays her characterís fish-out-of-water awkwardness like the comedy pro she is; OíDowd is enjoyably hissable as an unconscionable a-hole; and while Ian McShane doesnít deviate from his typical confrontational intensity, he makes that persona as funny as it is intimidating -- he steals every scene heís in.   The movie is almost too low-key for its own good: It aims for smiles more than laughs. Those expecting the rapid-fire pace and pop-culture ransacking of Frostís collaborations with Simon Pegg will discover that Cuban Fury has much more in common with small-scale charmers like Waking Ned Devine and The Full Monty -- and it also owes a debt to the wonderful Japanese film Shall We Dance? Itís a winning showcase for Frostís versatility thatís packed with enjoyable performances, and offers a thoroughly pleasant way to spend 98 minutes of your movie-watching life.