Sunday, June 19, 2022

Cha Cha Real Smooth: Movie Review

Balanced approach to young love.

Cha Cha Real Smooth is filmmaker Cooper Raiff’s sophomore effort following Shithouse’s poignancy and vulnerability of a young guy starting college. Here, Raiff plays Andrew a young man just graduated from college who falls in love fast and hard, and each time it’s funny and sweet as Andrew consistently seems to be one good decision away from turning his life around.   2022

Directed by: Cooper Raiff

Screenplay by: Cooper Raiff

Starring: Cooper Raiff, Dakota Johnson

Andrew at age 12 has just fallen in love with the woman who was leading the dances at the bar mitzvah. He’s heartbroken when she just laughs at him and drives away. Fast forward to the end of college and his girlfriend Mia is leaving for a fellowship in Barcelona. Andrew’s determined to follow her there despite the fact that he doesn’t have a job, or money, or a purpose, and that she doesn’t want him there. So Andrew moves back home with mom (Leslie Mann), a stepfather (Brad Garrett) whom he hates, and his younger brother David (Evan Assante) who is now at bar mitzvah age.

Cooper Raiff has said that his characters will continue to be what he knows best – “young, dumb boys”. That’s a very apt description for Andrew who has limited skills but many bad decisions. After Andrew drives David to a bar mitzvah and spends the whole party trying to get everybody dancing, one of the mothers offers him a job as a bar mitzvah party starter. His mother is so happy – finally a job prospect, a paying gig, something he could turn into a job. However, as Andrew is prone to do, he meets young mother Domino (Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter Lola (Vanessa Burghardt) and then falls in love with Domino, and now his emotional states are guided by that relationship.

Every character has been crafted from real people and primarily with Andrew his flaws are on full display. He’s a very charismatic guy who cares about his friends, stands up to bullies, but often has zero disregard for how his actions affect others. Domino also has a lot of similarities to Andrew but has a firmer grasp on reality and being responsible. Compared to Shithouse, Cha Cha Real Smooth is less awkward and heartbreaking, just as vulnerable but has a more balanced approach to the main character and his relationships.

Cha Cha Real Smooth is a funny and sweet take on young love which offers both an idealistic and pragmatic view. It’s that balance between romanticism and prudence which elevates this movie into something special.

One of the Best of 2022