Published Jan 15, 2009Partially recapturing the madcap antics of the silent comedy, updating it with some traditional fairytale elements, along with an intentionally wild pastel colour palette, Rumba could be described as a whimsical dark comedy, a live action cartoon or a saucy critique of looking on the bright side. While occasionally frustrating, when the comic antics take an occasional wrong turn, the film is often hilarious, truly bizarre and a lot of fun.
Regardless of the reality that the film essentially is a series of horrifying events, with lost limbs, burnt houses, suicide attempts and a mugging, it is all presented in such a sunny manner that it's difficult to dwell on the negative, which in turn leaves the film open to a wider audience.
As the title suggests, the movie focuses on a married couple, Fiona and Dom (Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel), who love to dance. Integrating unique body movements, mime techniques and clever choreography into their Latino-flavoured dance routine, the pair regularly win dance competitions, piling up an endless parade of trophies to display.
Unbeknownst to the quirky pair, their dancing days become numbered when a misguided suicide attempt from a despondent and lonely Gerard (Philippe Martz) leaves Fiona with one less leg and Dom with amnesia. Unwilling to let their woes get the best of them, the pair keep on trucking, recollecting good times had despite the endless series of unfortunate events that unfold.
A mixture of comic framing and deadpan expression from the leads make this madcap journey fun from beginning to end, although the shtick does grow a little tired by the third act.
Aside from some thematically questionable material, Rumba should be fun for all age brackets, managing to be funny without ever resorting to crudity. Minor imperfections aside, this is one of the better things to hit theatre screens this January. (Kinosmith)