In 1987, 13-year-old Bruce Garrett was a salsa dancer with a shelf full of awards and a bright future in dancing. But just before his big break at the UK Junior Salsa Championships, a group of bullies gang up on Bruce and force him to eat the sequins off his dance shirt. Broken, Bruce burns his dance shoes and quits dancing.
Cut to 25 years later, adult Bruce (Nick Frost) is overweight, romantically unfulfilled, and works at an engineering company with his Jerkass partner Drew (Chris O'Dowd). Then their new American boss Julia (Rashida Jones) arrives and Bruce is almost instantly attracted to her. When Bruce learns that Julia likes to salsa, Bruce sees a way in...but can he get back into top dancing form before Drew makes good on his promise to make Julia his latest conquest? With help from his younger sister Sam (Olivia Colman), former coach Ron (Ian McShane), and fellow salsa dancer Benjan (Kayvan Novak), Bruce might have a chance.
- Acrofatic: While Danny Butterman crashes through fences, Bruce can backflip off of cars and swing his salsa partners over his head. Bruce can move.
- Adorkable: Bruce Garrett, his adorkable love of lathes, his inventiveness, his pride in being very good at identifying dogs by their silhouettes...
- Always Second Best: Drew's mean competitiveness keeps Bruce here.
- Book-Ends: Young Bruce's scrapbook of accomplishments, adult Bruce's scrapbook of accomplishments.
- Brother-Sister Team: Bruce and Sam as a salsa duo. Thundercats, ho!
- The Bully: FUCKIN DREW
- The Cameo: Simon Pegg
- Camp Gay: Bejan, who lives and thrives in a sparkly, spicy ecosystem of clubs and salsa dancing. And ball waxes.
- Crash-Into Hello: Twice! That's how you know they're really meant for each other.
- Cynical Mentor: Ron, Bruce's old salsa master.
- Dance Party Ending: How else could it end, really.
- Dancing Is Serious Business: What happens at lunch stays at lunch.
- Glory Days: Bruce's childhood on the salsa circuit.
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: "This is bowling. There are balls, and there are holes, and we're all adults."
- Meaningful Name: Bejan's full name has poetry behind it; Bruce suggests that his own comes from the Old Saxon, and probably means "hedge".
- Mistaken for Gay: Sweet, nervous Bruce answers the door clutching his robe at his throat and bumblingly tries to get rid of his friend Gary. Then Bejan swishes up behind Bruce and says he's so pleased to meet Gary, this is a big moment for him...
- Nice Guy: Bruce is the legit sort. He's kind and sweet, and it takes a lot to make him angry. He even suffers Drew. Some of it is that his fire has gone out, but he is a genuinely sweet individual.
- Product Placement: Diet Coke
Bruce: They don't do still Fanta.Bejan: They don't do still Fanta, I have to make my own.
- Still Fanta
- Shout-Out: While Bruce is hesitant to put on fake tan and shave his chest, Bejan calls him out on this, saying: "What year is this? Do we have a DeLorean? Is this Hill Valley?!" And when he makes Bruce go into the bathroom to shave and tan himself, he yells "RUN, MARTY!!"
- Training Montage: Bruce's includes practicing on public transport and a lot of practice alone, and with Rory Kinnear.