Writer-director and star of Cha Cha Real Smooth, Cooper Raiff, plays Andrew, a recent college graduate who moves back home and begins working as a bar mitzvah party starter. He’s lost until befriending Domino (Dakota Johnson) and her daughter Lola (Vanessa Burghardt), soon believing that he may have finally figured out his life’s purpose. 

Domino tells Andrew she feels comfortable around him but she doesn’t know why and there really is something immediately likeable about Andrew thanks to Raiff, who embodies this awkward yet charming personality that puts you at ease. From the start, this film feels special.

Raiff’s tender direction and script is clever in its ability to be humorous and absolutely gut-wrenching. Nothing that occurs here is necessarily good or bad, but usually falling somewhere in the middle–bittersweet–and there’s such an honesty in that. Being forced back into his hometown was a nightmare for Andrew and we see this underlying frustration, but on the other hand, he discovers even more about himself by being home and reconnecting with those around him.  

Though Andrew is central in this story, so much care is put into crafting every multifaceted character. Each time you think you have someone figured out, they prove to be just as complicated, naive and as wonderfully messy as Andrew is, fully-fleshed and brought to life by the talented cast, where newcomer Burghardt impresses in her first ever role and Johnson delivers one of her best performances to date.

A love letter to family and the friends we meet along the way, Cha Cha Real Smooth is like receiving a warm hug, the feeling of letting out a deep sigh. Revelling in people at different stages who still don’t have their life together, to hear them admit, “I don’t know shit” is, at once, terrifying and comforting.



CAST: Dakota Johnson, Cooper Raiff, Vanessa Burghardt, Evan Assante, Brad Garrett, Leslie Mann

DIRECTOR: Cooper Raiff

WRITER: Cooper Raiff

SYNOPSIS: Andrew is stuck at home with his family after higher education failed to provide him with a clear life path.