CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH

★★★★

COOPER RAIFF, A VOICE FOR GENERATION Z

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
18th June 2022

As a young 20-something, defining who you are after university or college can be extremely difficult. You come out of this school environment with a degree and are just thrown into the world hoping to make this adulting thing work. Cooper Raiff is back with his second feature ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’, which tackles that scary time.

Andrew (Raiff, ‘Shithouse’) has just finished studying at college and moves back home with his mum (Leslie Mann, ‘Blockers’, ‘How to be Single’), stepdad Greg (Brad Garrett, ‘Christopher Robin’, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’) and brother David (Evan Assante, ‘Dinosaur World’). He's working at a hotdog mall kiosk when he takes his brother to a bar mitzvah. There, his party hosting abilities come out and all the mums start hiring him to make the parties more fun. He also meets Domino (Dakota Johnson, ‘The High Note’, ‘The Lost Daughter’) and starts up a connection not only with her but also her autistic daughter Lola (Vanessa Burghardt in her debut role).

'CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH' TRAILER

‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ speaks to the early 20s age group in an extremely personal way. I felt instantly connected with Andrew; living in a state of uncertainly after college is something I think most people in my age group have or will go through. He's perfectly loveable and caring but his life's a mess - it’s such a well-written character that you just can’t help become infatuated with him.

With films about self-discovery, the protagonist can often come across as selfish. Andrew is so loving and caring about everyone he meets, and when he does become distant and "selfish", he really redeems himself and takes on the consequences of his journey of self-discovery, a rarity in these kinds of films. The film also tackles some big issues like autism and mental health, and they are all handled with so much care and respect.

Andrew is perfectly loveable and caring but his life's a mess - it’s such a well-written character that you just can’t help become infatuated with him.

The film echoes a lot of similar themes from ‘The King of Staten Island’, and while Pete and Andrew are very different characters, these two films are the perfect voice for Generation Z and serve for a great double feature.

Writer/director Cooper Raiff has knocked it out of the park in only his second feature, with the whole cast at the top of their game. From the comedy to the heart, ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ doesn’t miss a beat.

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