Cha Cha Real Smooth takes many conventions of the romantic comedy and flips them on their head to varying levels of success. Writer-Director Cooper Raiff dials the sweet up to eleven in this vibey feature that follows some satisfying beats but adds a dose of realism that these films sometimes sorely need.
Written by Alex Gilston
Cooper Raiff plays Andrew, a recent college graduate, who has little to no direction in life, and a job at the local fast food joint, Meat Sticks. At a Bar Mitzvah party he finds out he has a knack for drumming up the party, and so sets up a business in which he goes to Bar Mitzvahs as a warm up host. Through doing this he meets Domino (Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter Lola. and he starts to fall for Domino, after he starts to babysit Lola for her. There is a genuinely moving connection between Andrew and Domino, partly due to the chemistry between Raiff and Johnson but also down to the authentic screenplay. These two people are falling in love even though that might not be the best thing for either of them, and the story treats that with respect and when the fairytale ending doesn’t come it’s still hugely satisfying because, well, that’s real life. Another thing that is treated with respect in Cha Cha Real Smooth is its representation of a character with Autism. It isn’t stereotypical and Lola is never the butt of any jokes, or shown in an offensive light.
Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth is, in all respects, the anti rom-com. Although it's nice to get the fluffy marshmallow endings sometimes, it's seemingly more interesting to explore the reality of these relationships we carve out and how sometimes they don’t work out and how sometimes that can be for the best. Barring the distinct lack of the use of the Cha Cha Slide in a film called Cha Cha Real Smooth, it is an impressive effort from Cooper Raiff. Boasting a wonderful narrative, a sharply on point cast, likable characters and an ending that leaves you thinking about the most important things in life.