• Gareth Bradwick

Cha Cha Real Smooth ★★★★

Cooper Raiff

Starring Cooper Raiff, Dakota Johnson, Vanessa Burghardt, Evan Assante, Leslie Mann

Written, directed and starring Cooper Raiff (Andrew), Cha Cha Real Smooth is about a young man, returning from college with a dead-end job and no prospects. He soon finds himself working as a party starter where he begins a unique relationship with a mother and her daughter.


Although this has many of the familiar checkpoints of a coming-of-age story, it is grounded in a reality that most of us can relate to. At some points over the top, at others overly simple, the film is a journey of discovery for Andrew, with some twists in our expectations which would just make sense in a real young person’s life.


The standout players are Dakota Johnson (Domino) and Vanessa Burghardt (Lola). With Johnson, as someone describes her in the film, you can’t work out what she’s hiding; she is completely mesmerising as a result. Domino’s daughter, Lola, has a fantastic presence whenever she appears and this movie stands out because she is in it.


Raiff seems to have a great ability to tell this story with a spectrum of ages in mind. He not only lets us relate to the hope-filled, optimistic confusion of Andrew’s, but he also lets us hear from the older characters, and how life can change perspectives over time.


A fun but mature movie, this will make you cringe at times but ultimately warm that little heart of yours.


Cha Cha Real Smooth available now on Apple TV+

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