By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Warm, funny dance romcom has language, sexual references.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A character learns to believe in himself. At first he thinks he can win the woman of his dreams by impressing her with his dancing, but he soon comes to discover that he must dance for himself, rather than for her. He also overcomes a childhood bullying incident and rediscovers his passion, and he overcomes an adult bully in the workplace.
Positive Role Models
The main character starts off fairly weak: He gives in to bullies, both as a kid (in flashbacks) and as an adult in the office; he doesn't have a strong self-image; and he believes that it will take something extra -- something external -- to get a woman to like him. But by the movie's final third, he finds strength and confidence by discovering something he's good at, something he's passionate about, and something he believes in. Plus, his dancing is good enough that it could inspire others.
Violence & Scariness
Cuban Fury starts with a flashback of young Bruce being attacked and beaten by bullies. The images are quickly cut and aren't graphic, though they do have an impact. The grown-up hero and his bullying co-worker have a big dance-fight sequence in which they try to out-dance each other; the sequence is played like a battle, with aggressiveness and attacks. There's also an antagonistic relationship between these two in the office, with harsh teasing and veiled threats.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Strong verbal sexual references, particularly involving the bully co-worker's attempts to sleep with his pretty new boss; he uses heavy, frequent innuendo (intended to be comic). In a scene of comical misunderstanding, he's seen in her apartment wearing only his underwear, socks, and shirt. (No actual sex happens.) And the salsa dancing itself can be quite sexy, especially when involving voluptuous women in skimpy outfits.
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Language is fairly strong, including many uses of "f--k," plus "p---y," "a--hole," "s--t," "bastard," "ass," etc., as well as lots of sexual innuendoes.
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Products & Purchases
One character drinks and pretty much endorses the soda Fanta (he prefers drinking it flat), though the scene is definitely comical.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters drink socially fairly often; i.e., at an office party or in the pub where the main character's sister works. Drinks range from beer to vodka shots. In one scene, the main character returns home, staggering drunk, and proceeds to (inadvertently) wreck his apartment while going through old boxes, records, etc., and attempting to dance. In the morning, he wakes up and sees the destruction.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cuban Fury -- a British romantic comedy with plenty of salsa dancing -- stars cult-fave actor Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead). Its biggest issue is heavy verbal sexual innuendo, as well as one scene that shows a man getting undressed in a woman's apartment (nothing happens). Language is also fairly strong, with uses of "f--k," "p---y," and "s--t." The main character faces bullies -- both in his childhood and in adulthood, though the grown-up bully merely taunts and teases him (his childhood bullies beat him up). A big "dance-off" battle scene -- in which the main characters attempt to out-dance each other -- is pretty aggressive but also funny. Adult characters drink fairly frequently, mostly in a social way, though in one scene, the main character comes home staggering drunk, with intended-to-be-comic after-effects. The soda Fanta gets a comical promotion in one scene. While it's not appropriate for younger viewers, older teens and adults may find it a good date movie.
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What's the Story?
As a kid, Bruce was a champion salsa dancer ... until the night some bullies beat him up before a big competition and he quit. As an adult, Bruce (Nick Frost) no longer dances. He works as a mild-mannered engineer, riding a fold-up bicycle to work and putting up with his vulgar, tactless co-worker, Drew (Chris O'Dowd). When a pretty new supervisor, Julia (Rashida Jones), arrives at the office, Bruce develops a shy crush, but Drew also starts putting his moves on her. Fortunately, Bruce discovers that she likes to salsa. Can he get his groove back in time? And, more importantly, will he be doing it for the right reasons?
Is It Any Good?
This seems like a sure bet for a good date movie. Based on an idea by Frost, CUBAN FURY is a much more mainstream movie than fans of his cult-fave collaborations with Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, The World's End, etc.) might expect. But though it's all very familiar, and every element is firmly in place, the movie also has plenty of warm, tingly energy and many genuine laughs, not to mention some great, exciting dance sequences.
Cuban Fury smartly allows its main character to rediscover salsa dancing as a way to find strength, rather than merely as a way to win the girl. (It forgoes the usual "lie plot" involved in most romantic comedies.) And Jones plays Julia with plenty of brains and wit; she's not just eye candy. Character actor Kayvan Novak easily walks away with most of the movie's laughs, giving the kind of performance that made Melissa McCarthy a star in Bridesmaids. As an extra treat, Frost's dancing is truly amazing!
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the way the main character in Cuban Fury deals with bullies, both in his childhood and as an adult. When and how does he find himself free from them? Could he have handled them in other ways?
Which male characters use the most sexual innuendo, and how does their talk compare to their actual relationships with women? What does that say about them?
Why do you think the characters drink as much as they do? Do they appear to enjoy it? Are there other reasons?
Does Cuban Fury make you want to take up dancing? If so, for what reasons? Fun? Building confidence? Meeting people?
- In theaters: April 11, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: July 29, 2014
- Cast: Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd, Rashida Jones
- Director: James Griffiths
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Entertainment One
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Arts and Dance
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language and sexual references
- Last updated: April 1, 2023
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