DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Dakota Johnson stars in a sweet little comedy with all the right ingredients thrown in in order to please the Sundance crowds

Cooper Raiff’s second film is a nice, safe and conventional crowd-pleaser. The director also wrote the script and stars in it. It’s a very endesaring story about a this 20-something loser type (Raiff) at a crossroads in his life. He’s just out of college, and ends up becoming a sort of party-starter for bar mitzvahs. At one event he meets a young mother, Domino (Dakota Johnson), who has an autistic daughter, Lola (Vanessa Burghart, who is herself autistic – brownie points to the filmmaker for that). He becomes friendly with both of them, helping Lola climb out of her shell. There’s clearly some chemistry between Andrew and Domino, but she also has a fiancé who is out of town a lot.

It’s not the most original movie you’ve ever seen, but – to its credit – it’s very charming. Raiff is an engaging actor, as is Johnson. It’s the first time I’ve seen him in a film, but I will be checking out his previous movie Shithouse (2020), which was retitled Freshman Year in the UK (Raiff also directed, wrote and starred in his first film). Raiff’s character is fallible: he gets drunk on the job and almost gets into a fight with some kids. All the three protagonists feel very real, with personalities that radiate from the screen. That’s a real accomplishment for a second film, and lets you buy into what is still at times a relatively pedestrian movie. Burghart’s role is handled tastefully, with her coming off as a rounded human being instead of falling into some of the usual traps and cliches.

There’s not a lot of conflict, even when Domino’s fiancé comes into the picture. As it turns out, there’s an understanding between him and Andrew. Instead, the story is built around the characters and their interactions. The film gets a little predictable and doused in saccharine at the end, but it’s got a big heart. It makes for a low-key, comfortable indie movie. Filmed in and around the Pittsburgh area, it’s not a flashy-looking film. Instead, it’s shot in a more austere fashion. It focuses on characters and emotion rather than aesthetics.

Cha Cha Real Smooth is the runaway success story of this year’s Sundance. It is a typical “Sundance movie”: the scenario is believable scenario, the characters and palpable, and it’s also very funny. Thoroughly enjoyable during its runtime of 107 minutes. The film has been sold for $15 million to AppleTV+.


By Ian Schultz - 30-01-2022

Ian Schultz is a film writer based in Leeds, where he runs Psychotronic Cinema. He has been writing about films for about eight years, with articles and reviews appearing in Little White Lies and Live...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Our dirty questions to Sarah Young

 

John McDonald - 27-05-2024

John McDonald interviews Sarah Young, the director of the deceptive "perfectly married couple" movie Not Him; they talk about domestic violence, the paranormal as a horror device, her upcoming comedy horror series, and a lot more [Read More...]

The Substance

Coralie Fargeat
2024

Victor Fraga - 27-05-2024

Coralie Fargeat's deliciously bonkers body horror is a grotesque, groovy and hilarious riff on sexism, ageism, and the absurd beauty standards forced upon women - from the 77th Festival de Cannes [Read More...]

All We Imagine As Light

Payal Kapadia
2024

Joshua Polanski - 27-05-2024

Dirty gem from India bludgeons the beauty standards of both Bollywood and Hollywood, while refreshingly allowing women to find pleasure in sex - Grand Prix winner at the 77th Cannes International Film Festival [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *