I'm retired, busy with volunteer radio and (with my wife) going to the theatre and enjoying 'fine dining".
Published March 18th 2014
Bruce, a young boy with not a lot going for him, becomes a salsa dance champion. A bunch of thugs take exception to his costume, and beat him up. Bruce gives up his chance for the National Championships, and grows up to be an over-weight young man, still with not a lot going for him, working as an engineering nerd. Nick Frost (without his usual screen partner Simon Pegg) goes against stereotype to play this most unlikely romantic lead.
Julia (played by Rashida Jones) comes on the scene, gorgeous, and clearly out of his league – "She's a butterfly, I'm a parsnip". Drew (Chris O'Dowd), a smarmy swivel hipped colleague, also has his predatory eye on Julia. Bruce discovers that Julia is learning the salsa, and decides to persuade his intimidating former dance instructor to get him back in shape. Dance just might be his way to win the fair lady.
Now read on. What follows is predictable, but delightful. Yes, there is a confrontation – a dance-off no less – with the swivel hipped lothario. Yes, there are machinations, and misunderstandings, and always the music. And always the dance – rhythmic, colourful, and infectiously up-tempo.
Maybe this film shouldn't work as well as it does, but it is unashamedly a "feel-good" movie, and the cast – all of them – are excellent. Nick Frost is an unexpectedly good dancer, and makes us all cheer for him in his pursuit of his lady. Kayvan Novak is brilliant as Bruce's hyper-enthusiastic, unabashedly camp salsa classmate. Bruce's sister (Colman) steals every scene she is in, and dances her heart out when it matters.
Did we enjoy the film, and did we leave with a smile on our faces? An unqualified "yes" to both.