CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH (#SUNDANCE2022)
Heartwarming and genuine through its every move, Cha Cha Real Smooth is a seductive dramedy that rides high on the standout performances of director Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson.
A recent college grad (Raiff) begins working as a bar mitzvah party host and befriends a young woman (Johnson) and her Autistic daughter (Vanessa Burghardt), leading him on a path of self-discovery. There is a charm that Cha Cha Real Smooth emits from the start that perfectly captures Raiff’s storytelling senses through authentic and pure delivery. I was immediately drawn to his character, someone many viewers will identify with as he tries to figure out next steps. Johnson, a Sundance regular this year, is stunningly strong (yet again) in a performance that shows her motherly side as a patient and understanding character. Add in the casting of an Autistic actress in Burghardt and you have a story that is in capable hands, playing all of the right cards.
I absolutely adored each of the characters as I was watching and found myself highly invested in where the story went. Through these flawed characters we see the challenges and curveballs of life explored and are able to emphasize easily thanks to the actors themselves. With settings and developments that feel familiar, Raiff taps into shared experiences to put forth a tale that is universal. Cha Cha Real Smooth is incredibly enthralling and my favorite film of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Photo from Sundance