Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022) Poster

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9/10
Who is this incredibly Talented Mr. Raiff?
adamsandel19 June 2022
This is the sweetest, freshest, most genuinely heartfelt movie that I've seen in ages.

The script is thoroughly original, warm and witty, and the story unfolds without a false moment or even a whiff of predictably. The direction is sensitive and assured, and the leading man is endearingly winning.

It blows my mind that all of these are the work of the same person: the 25-year-old Cooper Raiff.

If you are reading this, Mr. Raiff, bravo and congratulations! Whoever funded this film needs to give him more money to make more films.
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8/10
a dose of sweetness when it's needed
ferguson-621 March 2022
SXSW 2022 Greetings again from the darkness. It seems society has reached a point where most of us are at least a bit skeptical of someone being nice. We assume there is an ulterior motive for acts of altruism. Writer-director-actor Cooper Raiff won a SXSW award for his first feature film (a title I can't print here), and he follows that up with this feel-good dramedy that may very well inspire us to have a bit more faith in humanity ... well at least some of humanity.

When we first meet Andrew (Mr. Raiff), he's attending the Bar Mitzvah of a classmate, and finds himself attracted to Bella (Kelly O'Sullivan, who was so good in SAINT FRANCIS, 2019), the older 'party starter'. What really hits home with Andrew is how Bella takes an obviously unsettling phone call in the stairwell before flipping her smile back on and returning to her hosting duties. We then jump ahead 10 years, and Andrew has just graduated college. His girlfriend heads off to Barcelona while he moves back in with his mother Leslie Mann) and stepdad (Brad Garrett), sleeping on a blow-up mattress in his younger brother David's (Evan Assante) room. As he contemplates his next step in life, Andrew works the counter at 'Meat Sticks', a shopping mall based fast food stop that forces him to wear a royal blue vest and bright red visor. Talk about motivation for transitioning into adulting.

This ties back into the early scene of young Andrew because when he accompanies David to a Bar Mitzvah, Andrew is attracted to the beauty Domino (Dakota Johnson), mother of autistic Lola (Vanessa Burghardt). We watch as Andrew's charm convinces to Lola to dance for the first time, a friendly gesture that intrigues her mother. Things change quickly for Andrew. Other Jewish moms take note of Andrew and hire him as a 'party starter', Domino hires Andrew to periodically babysit Lola, David starts eliciting romance advice from big brother, and Domino and Andrew begin their "will they or won't they" flirtations.

Of course, things aren't as simple or rosy as they might seem. Domino has a lawyer fiancé (Raul Castillo), and she's burdened with emotional pain that she barely acknowledges - though she does admit to Andrew that she struggles with depression. There are also mental health issues associated with Andrew's mother, and we infer that plays an important part in his own makeup and desire to help others. It turns out Andrew and Domino are both defined (perhaps burdened) by their need to help others, while ignoring their own well-being. Neither are saints, as both have flaws. An engaged Domino battles her urges with Andrew, while he drinks too much, has a jealous streak, and snaps at loved ones when upset.

Filmmaker Raiff benefits from a terrific and fully engaged performance from Ms. Dakota. Raiff himself is not a polished actor, but this is an advantage for his role as Andrew - a young man drifting at a time he should be focused. The film takes a sincere approach to characters we know. The cringe-factor rarely, if ever, pops up. The most cynical might find it saccharine, but most will appreciate the sweetness Andrew displays as he fumbles around with what love means. He may be somewhat goofy, but he's also good-hearted, and enjoys making a difference and helping others. Raiff's film may be as eager to please as its protagonist, yet that's not such a bad thing. And yes, the "Cha Cha Slide" does feature in a dance scene, so the film's title isn't totally off the wall (but almost).
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8/10
Not sure why people hate it.
cscott233120 June 2022
It was a very sweet movie. Made me laugh as well. Glad it didn't have the ending some would've wanted. Not really sure where all the hate comes in, or how this movie has ruined weekends. It was a good enough movie that you didn't have to pay extra for, that's for sure!
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9/10
Heartwarming and lovely
AdamMohammed4110 July 2022
Where this actor, director and writer who called Mr. Raiff been!? This movie is such incredible one for those who love drama and calm movies! Right amount of laughters and tears, Besides that it has the touch of Apple+, the music and the simplicity of telling the story. Love this movie so much.
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9/10
Cha Cha Real Smooth Review
theredsky4 March 2022
This was the other film I was privileged to see during Sundance and it's most likely gonna go down as one of my favorites of the year. Cha Cha Real Smooth has more of a personal connection to me with how it treats leaving home while you still have a younger sibling there. It really resonated with me and I'm not ashamed to say that the final scene of the film almost made me cry. It hit very close to home. The performances here are great. Major props to Cooper Raiff for Directing, Writing, and starring in this because the writing and his performance were fantastic. His direction was pretty good but the writing and acting outshined it. His character feels very realistic. He gets in over his head a lot but tries his best to make others feel happy and he usually succeeds at it. Dakota Johnson did a great job as well along with Vanessa Burghardt who plays her daughter. All of these characters that Raiff wrote are great. They feel personal and well thought out and play a major impact into the story. As you can tell, it was the characters and writing that really sold me for this film because those aspects genuinely are fantastic. The music and editing were good but really weren't anything that special. I would highly recommend checking this film out whenever it hits theaters or streaming services if you want a more personal kind of story.
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9/10
Cooper Raiff
sarfoking19 June 2022
This is a very heartwarming film. Cooper Raiff was very charming as the lead, and he literally carried this whole movie on his back. I was surprised to find out he was the director, producer, and editor in addition to being the lead actor. I also love Dakota Johnson's hot streak of delivering great back to back performances in The Lost Daughter and Cha Cha Real Smooth. This is currently my favorite movie of 2022.
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8/10
The right amount of tears & laughs!
geokk17 June 2022
It's a classic indie film and that's a plus in my book! It's a really nice story and it's perfectly directed, Cooper Raiff did an excellent job! There are some really joyful and humorous moments, really liked Raiff's sense of humour and there also some touching scenes, in particular the one where Raiff and Johnson talk about depression (I cried my eyes out during that scene)! Though I'd like to notify that there's a cringe dialogue between them in another scene later in the movie too! All in all, the movie is definitely worth watching if you love the combination of sentimental and funny!
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8/10
Fun gem hidden between blockbusters. Worth a look
adamnacci19 June 2022
There is a good bit of sarcastic comedy and wittiness. Honestly starts out a little clunky but I think it's intentional. Great story well acted in unique style by the lead. It's always fun to see a film truly evolve as the characters do and I think that's what you get here as the main actor is also the director and writer. Just a good movie that touches each emotion sometimes in unique and engaging ways.
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10/10
This Comedy is such a Drama
goshamorrell18 June 2022
As writer, director, producer, and star, Cooper Raiff has created what looks like your typically quirky indie dramedy with "Cha Cha Real Smooth." And his sophomore feature does indeed include some familiar elements, including young adults stuck in a state of arrested development and kids who articulate their emotions with a wisdom beyond their years. But Raiff offers some impressive tonal mixtures and narrative surprises along the way, and even though his third act sags a bit, the performances-particularly from an achingly melancholy Dakota Johnson- remain compelling until the end. Just the fact that he's only 25 years old and he's making movies with this level of stealthy complexity is exciting. Raiff stars as Andrew, a recent graduate of Tulane University whose main goal is to earn enough money to follow his girlfriend to Barcelona. He's mostly aimless, scraping funds together by living at home in suburban New Jersey, and working at a mall food court restaurant with the awesomely terrible name of Meat Sticks. But he stumbles into an actual job as a party-starter on the local bar and bat mitzvah circuit, urging awkward adolescents and their slightly inebriated parents to get on the dance floor and do the Electric Slide. Raiff and his production design team clearly had a ball coming up with the specific details for all these themed events, and the way he captures the nervous energy of this youthful time of flux will make you shudder in recognition. "Cha Cha Real Smooth" follows these unexpected relationships as they develop and provide Andrew with some much-needed purpose. Raiff and Johnson have an easy, teasing chemistry with each other; the authenticity of their conversations and the intimate way they're shot frequently make you feel as if you're eavesdropping on them. Domino is damaged and she doesn't always make good choices, but the fact that Raiff's script doesn't deify her makes her so much more interesting. But Raiff's ambition to break free from sentimental formula and forge a path of his own is clear, making him an exciting young filmmaker to watch.
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4/10
Sundance got it right with CODA, but not with this one
asc8519 June 2022
In 2021, the Audience Award at Sundance went to CODA. I loved CODA, so when the Audience Award in 2022 went to Cha Cha Real Smooth, I really wanted to watch this once it hit AppleTV+. What a disappointment. My main problem with this movie is Cooper Raiff as Andrew. I just never believed that this type of person exists out there in the real world. At all. And when you don't find him to be a credible character, the whole thing just falls apart.
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1/10
Empty movie
MiriamAF18 June 2022
Warning: Spoilers
What was the goal of this movie?

They showed nothing to the lead character, he loves elderly women since he was 10 years old? He has a bipolar mother (the movie doesn't address the issue), he falls for a mother with autistic daughter (the movies don't address the autism) this mother is engaged but makes an extra sexual relationship with this 20 yr old boy, and they just show many Jewish parties.. at the end there's nothing but a hallow movie.
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6/10
Fun comfort zone movie for modern viewers
chenp-5470820 April 2022
Saw this back at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Having seen 'S#!%house' also directed by Cooper Raiff, I already knew what to aspect from this movie. I expected comfort atmosphere displayed and a comedy movie about youth. I wasn't disappointed or wowed by anything from the movie but I was still able to connect with the movie.

Raiff clearly understands how modern people act and the youth generation of our time. His way of capturing youth was pretty impress for the most part. Many of the relationships between with the character felt real and the performances from Raiff and Dakota Johnson were some of the best chemistry I have seen in a romance movie in quite some time. I was able to find myself wanting to know a little more about them. Vanessa Burghardt who plays the daughter of Johnson's character surprisingly pretty good. The production design was pretty decent, good music choices and really good pacing.

Unfortunately, the story does become really basic. Really generic story that is pretty bland. But without Raiff's charms and chemistry, it would have been like a bad hallmark movie almost like "CODA". The camerawork doesn't offer really anything special and some of the child actors honestly were really bad that took the experience out at times. This movie seems to be very personal for Raiff which I can understand where he is coming from. I won't be surprised if this movie will be able to connect with many audiences. The characters for the most part were interesting although the family aspects of this movie didn't really offer much and felt unfocused at the same time.

However, despite being cheesy, I was still able to connect with the movie emotionally and still be invested with what is happening around them. I do look forward to see what Cooper Raiff makes in the future.

Rating: B-
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9/10
Sweet, but not corny
canuckteach15 July 2022
Cooper Raiff is amazing as a 22 year old nice guy...he is either a genuine sweet guy, or a stratosphericly terrific actor. Caught this flick on Apple+TV & it is 97% PG. A feel-good film, for the ages.

Well-written, shot & directed.
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8/10
Beautiful and heartwarming
TiCor7818 June 2022
This is such a beautiful and heartwarming story!

It was a joy to see how the relationships between all the different characters developed.

It made me smile, made me laugh out loud and made me tear up... It is cheesy at times, but that didn't bother me a bit.

I'm a sucker for these kind of movies. 🤷‍♂️ That chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Cooper Raiff...Wow!

Great performances by all.

8,5/10.
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8/10
how to guide...
ops-5253517 June 2022
Yourself out of adolescensce cold be a sidetitle, anyway, this is a film that will either make you smile or cry, yes it swings and turns like a manic depressive disorder, a film that gave me the throatlump due to loads of reminnisensive moments...my advice to a first kisser though would be''the stare of no return''...have had that just a few times in my long backbroken life even though im old and grumpy, but do watch this film for its essence, the story can be meddled over, but the 4 maincasts are just making a beautifilled story of life,sole, love and entanglement...

that reminds me of track number 2 on the genesis album ''trick of a tail'', a song called entangled...a song that could make me laugh scream and cry of pure dismanteled mental joy

yeah i recommend both.
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4/10
Poor acting and hollow story
Y1fan19 June 2022
The lead character was not able to let me immerse in the illusion that he is a genuine person in the world of the story. I can se he was acting the whole time. Fake cries and lip bites does not help in that respect. The story is also pretty hollow. I don't get what CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH means after watching the whole movie.
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4/10
Good intentioned naiveté
Naive-fox3 July 2022
Warning: Spoilers
'Cha Cha Real Smooth' is a sweet, heart-warming everyday story... from an alternate universe. Copper Raiff is so focused on getting his feel good movie done no matter what that he forgets to make any of its characters belieavable. From the incredibly unrealistic dialogues to the behaviour of every character in the film, the whole ordeal feels like a Disney movie that's been stripped of any conflict or villain, leaving a bleak film that can not even display its message properly through an ensemble of such artificial characters. Even the portrayal of autism is so off it kills the whole purpose of the movie.

Yes, if you can keep your head above the ocean of honey and syrup you can still see Copper's intention and even catch a glimpse of some decent directing here and there and a movie with a bigger production value that most of its kind, but eventualy you get engulfed by the stickiness of its atmosphere and every little praisable detail is taken from your field of view hidden under an overly mellow canvas.
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6/10
Sweet But Inconsequential
Minnesota_Reid19 May 2022
A decent movie about a 22 year old trying to find his way in the world. He is sweet and upbeat despite his fast-food job and girl friend off to Barcelona and maybe not coming back to him. He meets a somewhat older woman with issues, and there is mutual chemistry. (His attraction to older women is set up in the opening scene of him as a preteen suffering a hopeless crush.)

This showing of the movie was a bit surreal. Apple, a company known for its success at addicting people to their silly devices, hired a uniformed brute squad to make sure no one recorded anything. And indeed, they did remove several of the degenerate phone addicts who cannot live for ten minutes without the fix of a beep to remind them that they are alive. The guards marched around, keys jiggling, opening doors to the bright outside, sometimes talking to each other. Thanks, Apple.

The production values were mixed. In scenes with more than a couple of people, it was very hard to make out the dialog. Visually, everything was bluish with sharp focus close up and fuzziness beyond. I wish they'd spent a little more on production values and a lot less on hiring copyright thugs.
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4/10
Zero Cha Cha
TheWordYo29 June 2022
This is not a high rating Really bad story that latterly goes nowhere.

It's not a feel good movie It's not a coming of age flick It's not a comedy and it's not good.

Do yourself a massive favor and watch something that's worth your time - trust me this really isn't.
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5/10
Cha cha cha
michaelsiphone23 June 2022
Cha Cha Real Smooth is a 2022 American comedy-drama film written, directed, and produced by Cooper Raiff 🕺

It premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Meh, it passed the time.

Just. 😐 👍🏼👎🏼
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4/10
Cool movie with no substance
baka_land30 June 2022
Felt like a watered down version of Liberal Arts (josh radnor). Majorly focuses on the good/chill guy who's on ecstacy. It's a coming of age drama/comedy, which doesn't have any solid story but he's a cool guy, helps everyone and also wants to get laid, because that's all young people do. The autistic kid was scripted to look like a robot, no feelings and no impact on the movie because she was an extra and the main story is about helping an older lady by giving her attention and a possibility of some getting some d because she's lonely and talks super low because she's also on drugs she did on fifty shades of bull$hit.
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1/10
Braindead
arthurbcruz19 June 2022
This is a movie about a child's mental autism to be addressed by a clown that hosts Bar Mitzvah parties, but it is continuously boring and accomplishes nothing what the movie intends. Scene after scene becomes redundant because it is wasted in too many re-runs of so many parties in the film and contributes to its foolishness. There is nothing silly or funny about this movie, only a waste of time. If there is a love affair between the two main characters, I'm sorry, I fell asleep or stopped watching.
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8/10
More please, Cooper
cliftonofun26 June 2022
As someone who loved Sh!thouse, I mostly wanted to see what Raiff would do next. Would it feel that real again? Could he find that mix of funny and heartbreaking? Answer: yes. This kid has such a knack for finding connections that feel human - joyous and complicated and cringy and triumphant and sad. Nothing in this movie feels like a stretch. So much happens, and so little happens all at once....for the plot and for the protagonist. I so wanted Andrew to be the best version of himself through it all. I'm excited Raiff has found a way to make this kind of story because we need more of them.
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10/10
'S#!%house' was a warning shot
iamjaywood24 January 2022
This follow up to 2020's biggest surprise debut is not only a better film in almost every way (and I loved S***house), but it's such a beautiful open armed hug of a film.

Cooper creates lovable characters that I cared for from the opening frame, and it was just so nice to meet them.

Solid script, great minimalist direction, effective indie stylings and some great music- and you have one of the first great films of 2022!
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9/10
... another put in your library film
bjarias29 July 2022
... Dakota Johnson is so-adorably-charming in this wonderful-little-film she just melts-your-heart... all three main leads make the movie very special... this is one hard not to like, and if you don't, you are choosing the wrong productions to spend time watching... really wish this were a tv-series, as couple hours is just not enough time to spend with these characters.
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