It’s almost Valentine’s Day; a time to celebrate love through obligatory romantic gestures. Or, if you’re single, a time to resolutely ignore Facebook and the litany of said romantic gestures documented there. Therefore, it’s also time for an onslaught of romantic comedies. As far as I’m concerned the less said about the big Valentine’s release, Endless Love, the better, and if I have to be dragged to see a formulaic film about meeting “the one” I’d much rather go for Cuban Fury (take note non-existent boyfriend).
It’s the standard British love story of average guy, Bruce (Nick Frost), meets beautiful, seemingly perfect and inexplicably American woman Julia (Rashida Jones). Luckily, she just happens to be potty for ballroom dancing and so ex-teen salsa protégé Bruce is in for a chance, if only he can get his confidence back and dance again. It’s pretty much Strictly Comes Dancing with a plot. Or a far more middle-class, UK based version of Step Up. There’s little doubt about whether the two will get together and the fact that Julia’s actually Bruce’s boss will cease to be an issue. Love conquers all, you know. Even situations rife with sexual harassment law suit potential.
I’m not quite as bitter as I make myself sound, though. Honest. Just because it looks incredibly predictable, it doesn’t mean that Cuban Fury’s necessarily going to be bad. Just look at Bridget Jones’s Diary, or Casablanca. In fact, it has the potential to be, if not a classic, then at least a really decent film. It features a lot of very funny people, not just Frost and Jones, but also The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd and the always wonderful Olivia Colman as Bruce’s villainous letch of a co-worker and his sister-cum-shoulder-to-cry-on respectively.
The film is directed by the relatively unknown James Griffiths. This is his first feature film, marking a step up from his most famous previous work, TV show Episodes and made for TV movies. Cuban Fury is also the debut film of Brit-sitcom and dramedy writer Jon Brown.
Cuban Fury should do well at the British box office this weekend. It’s a romantic comedy told from the man’s point-of-view and, as much as I dislike perpetuating stereotypes, they’re designed to play up to everyone. There’s the bloke-ish humour for the men, with enough dance and love to appeal to the women in the audience. But it also looks incredibly British. The leading man doesn’t have the movie star good looks or pretty much anything going for him, which always makes films so much more interesting. After all, watching the non-beautiful people fall in love gives us all some hope.
Cuban Fury will be out in cinemas nationwide on 14th February.