‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’ | Sundance 2022 Review

Directed By:

Cooper Raiff

Written By:

Cooper Raiff


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


Comedy, Drama, Romance

Fresh out of college, Andrew is still looking for his place in the world. He’s now living back at home, working as a party-starter at the bar and bat mitzvahs of his younger brother’s classmates. When Andrew befriends a local mom, Domino, and her daughter, Lola, he becomes infatuated and has clarity finally that he knows what he wants in life, but will it actually work out in the end? This could feel like a cheesy romantic comedy on it’s face, but with powerful leading performances and a charming story, Cha Cha Real Smooth is the darling of this years Sundance and a joy to watch.

This film feels like a warm chocolate chip cookie on a rainy day. The performances by both Dakota Johnson and Cooper Raiff (who also writes and directs here) are delightful and their relationship feels genuine and deep. Andrew is trying to find meaning in his life, and is supplementing having his own life for thinking his road ends with joining another family instead. His career isn’t really in existence and he still hangs on to his college stereotypes for drinking, partying, and being the life of the party. It’s not until Domino and her daughter arrive at a party he’s trying to liven up wakes him up to wanting stability. Wanting a family of his own, even interpreting his connection to Domino as being his soulmate.

The story is a coming of age message for those who feel like they should already have their life together. More and more with the future generations we are questioning where the adulting begins, and it’s hard to asses even what that means to an extent. I really enjoyed the themes and tone Cooper Raiff brings to the story. Dakota Johnson gives her strongest performance this Sundance in this and I am excited to see how audiences receive her as a single mom with a undeniably addicting personality that Andrew is immediately drawn to.

Whether Andrew and Domino end up together you’ll discover once you watch this, but I can say nothing feels forced in their relationship. The story is relatable and heartfelt, though the ending may make you believe this is a happy ending when it’s more positive and affirming than a storybook conclusion. I would say check this film out when you get a chance for the performances and light and comedic tone.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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