Bruce Garrett (played by Ben Radcliffe then Nick Frost) has found life’s been a bit dull lately. His job’s a drudge and his home life isn’t much better. It’s been that way ever since his confidence was shattered when a gang of bullies beat him up for being a teenage competitive salsa dancer. He immediately quit dancing, with no explanation to his tutor Ron (by Ian McShane) nor his dance partner, sister Sam (by Isabella Steinbarth then Olivia Coleman) and he never looked back. But now, over 20 years later, he’s out of shape, bored and lonely, with little to interest him at work or in his social life. One day, a new boss Julia (by Rashida Jones), arrives at work and Bruce thinks she’s lovely. His workmates are all taken with her too, particularly over-the-top womaniser Drew (by Chris O’Dowd) who makes a bee-line for her. By chance, Bruce discovers that she’s into salsa, which stirs his own memories and he feels a passion for it (and for her) start to rise in him once again. This could be just the impetus he needs to get his life back on track ….
This is an entertaining and quite sweet movie. The setting is “working world” England and it paints a fairly beige, mundane picture. Bruce is the kind of guy anyone would feel sorry for – he’s not the most handsome, but he’s lovely, quite witty and a realist. His interaction with “the ladies” is clumsy, but at least he’s natural and himself. Nick Frost makes a perfect Ben. Chris O’Dowd is unbelievable but well matched to play the totally obnoxious, self-obsessed and deluded Drew – he’s just unbearable. Bruce thinks so too, he even tells him so, but Drew doesn’t hear it. The most delightful character is Mickey, the wonderful Latin dancer, played beautifully by Tim Plester. As Julie, Rashida Jones does a good job and Olivia Colman is really entertaining as Bruce’s sister Sam. Overall, this is an entertaining piece – but I could do without so many salsa dance sequences – a matter of taste I guess..
Made in 2014. Directed by James Griffitths