Cha Cha Real Smooththe second film by the 25-year-old American Cooper Raiff, is to be discovered on Apple TV+ and we tell you why it is not to be missed.
The Sundance Festival, a key event for independent American cinema, is the ideal place to spot emerging talents in American cinema. During the 2022 edition, Cha Cha Real Smooth won the audience award. Cha Cha Real Smooth is the second film by young filmmaker, screenwriter and actor Cooper Raiff.
In his first film titled Shithouse, which had also received the grand prize of the jury of the South by Southwest festival (another major festival of the independent scene), he interpreted a young adult freshly arrived at college. Here, Cooper Raiff interprets this time a recent graduate (in addition to remaining in charge of the direction and the screenplay).
Andrew, a lost ingenue who returns to live with his parents after college, becomes the babysitter of the daughter of Domino (Dakota Johnson), an older woman who will very quickly obsess him. Unquestionably inspired by The winner, Cha Cha Real Smooth offers a clever and touching revisit of the romantic comedy. We give you three good reasons to watch the film released on June 17, 2022 on Apple TV +.
Because the director is a little genius
At only 25 years old, Cooper Raiff is already considered by many to be a future big name in indie cinema and was even compared by the American press to Richard Linklater, the coming of age specialist. After taking acting classes during his childhood and writing his first play in college, the Texan left his native Dallas and went to study film at Occidental College, a faculty in Los Angeles where Terry Gilliam and Ben Affleck also studied.
After talking about the transition from high school to college in his first film, Cooper Raiff decided to focus on another moment that can be just as traumatic, post-college. Even though Cha Cha Real Smooth is not the sequel to Shithouse, it could almost be one. Raiff obviously draws inspiration from his personal experience when writing his 22-year-old character in the film.
If all that wasn’t enough, in addition to writing and directing the film, he also plays the lead role in Cha Cha Real Smooth, produced it and is also credited with editing. Perfect in this role young graduate who became a hot dog salesman then a bar mitzvah entertainerCooper Raiff embodies a character as sincere as he is touching, obsessed with the idea of making those around him happy.
Lost, but a role model for his younger brother
Because Dakota Johnson
After The Lost Daughter by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dakota Johnson confirms two things: she’s great (but we’ve known that for a long time) and she plays the young mother in distress very well. With an often absent fiancé and an autistic preteen, Domino’s life is often sad. When she meets Andrew, she finds in him a sincere confidant and a potential father for her daughter who very quickly becomes friends with the young adult.
The duo, which never becomes a real couple, works wonderfully. Their interactions are touching, often funny and never overdone. Like Before Sunrise, Cha Cha Real Smooth manages to make feel the alchemy that emanates from the two charactersan alchemy that seems quite natural.
Whether Dakota Johnson Shines Again and that her blue eyes come to pick us up again, she is not the only one to achieve an admirable performance. We will remember that of Vanessa Burghardt, a truly autistic young actress who plays here in her first film, but we will also remember the performance of Leslie Mann, muse of Judd Apatow, as a worried mother ready to do anything to make her children happy.
A loving mother-daughter relationship
for its mix of genres and tones
If it deals with the passage between college and the adult world, Cha Cha Real Smooth transcribes other equally important moments in the life of a human being under construction. From the top of his 22 years, Andrew goes from bar-mitzvah to bar-mitzvah to accomplish his new profession of waiter and the spectator therefore finds himself witness to different rites of passage like that of his younger brother’s first kiss, or rather his attempt at a first kiss. In this, the film can be considered a coming of age, but not only.
Cooper Raiff’s feature film also revisits the codes of romantic comedy and makes his male character the true romantic of the story. It is he who cries in the car and who sees his little heart broken from the flashback of the beginning. Cha Cha Real Smooth refuses to deliver a classic happy ending and prefers to see the romantic experience, and its disappointment, as an obligatory passage, as a stage in life.
Find your part of a child
In addition to the perfect balance between the coming of age and the rom com, the film also has fun mixing tones. Sometimes very funny then quickly very sad, Cooper Raiff decided not to choose between comedy and drama and to propose a work that would succeed in navigating between the two without ever having one trend take over the other.