‘Cuban Fury’ in three words: Nick Frost salsas

This picture has charm and energy.

“Cuban Fury” violates a cardinal rule of quality filmmaking, in that it’s the sort of high-concept comedy for which the pitch could be summed up in three words: Nick Frost salsas.

Still, the picture has enough charm and energy to subvert those diminished expectations. It’s particularly a testament to quality casting, as Frost, best known for his collaborations with Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, Rashida Jones and Chris O’Dowd make for a formidable team, bringing sly depth to a handful of underwritten parts.

Frost stars as child salsa champion Bruce, years later relegated to a humdrum, cautious existence as an office drone after traumatic bullying led to his retiring the frilly outfits and dancing shoes. Enter new boss Julia (Jones), who is pretty, nice and, lo and behold, loves to shimmy and shake to a Latin beat. Our hero’s long-dormant salsa affinity is swiftly reawakened.

The movie splits the difference between droll workplace comedy and steamy dance flick. Director James Griffith, working from a screenplay based on an idea of Frost’s, seamlessly shepherds the film through those contrasting universes and there are some broad humorous touches that work, especially a dance-off between Frost and O’Dowd that’s shot like a musical number.

Robert Levin