Rashida Jones is one of my favorite actresses. Damn, that girl just lights up the screen! It doesn’t hurt that she’s gorgeous and has a knack for comedy, but she never plays dumb; she’s almost always pretty, funny and smart in whatever role she plays. So I had very high hopes for seeing her take the lead in Cuban Fury. Never mind the weird premise: a salsa dancing contest in the U.K. I’m figuring she did this one for Mom and Pop: Mom being fab British actress Peggy Lipton (the knockout blonde in the uber cool, multi-culti before its time Mod Squad from the ‘60s), and Pop being the legendary record producer Quincy Jones. So ok, make the ‘rents happy and do a film set in the UK that focuses on music and dance. It’s the kind of savvy thing rich people do like naming their firstborn after the family and assuring themselves a nice little inheritance. No pain, a lot to gain. But that formula didn’t pan out here, in this weird American in Britland feature.
Jones plays a lady boss who is sent to oversee a business division in England, and is soon surrounded by male underlings bursting out of their cubicles to lust after her. Funny guy Nick Frost plays Bruce, a chubby underdog who falls hard for her but unlike his creepy co-worker, Drew, won’t stoop to dirty tricks to win her over. Turns out the lady’s got a thing for salsa, and oh yeah, btw, Bruce used to be a salsa sensation in his young days! He pours his blood, sweat and tears into regaining his moves and making a mind-blowing mixtape for her, since he knows that only the master of the mixtape, Sir Salsa, will win her heart. The film tries hard to explode stereotypes of masculinity (think “dancing is for sissies” crap) but only ends up creating more. Other than a musical blip in the soundtrack, there’s nothing Cuban in this film, so that leaves Fury. Save yourself from ending up furioso and skip it.
Cuban Fury opens in theaters on April 11.