Discovering yourself in life and navigating changes is no longer a journey only narrated in teen drama comedies like Eighth grade, almost 18 or The Summer of My Life.
and the rookie Cooper Raiff is here to prove it and makes his second film, Cha Cha Real Smooth – The Next Stepthe perfect opportunity to explore the pitfalls of being a young adult just out of college and without a clear horizon before your eyes.
In the film that has just arrived in Brazil via Apple TV+ streaming, the 23-year-old filmmaker explores his own age group in a sweet, smooth and sensitive comedy. Alongside two well-known names in Hollywood, Dakota Johnson and Leslie Mann, he makes his movie a Sundance classic. Maybe it’s carefully designed to fit this shape, but it’s still inevitable not to be enchanted by its backwards coming of age.
Watch the trailer:
In addition to directing and writing, Raiff also stars this peculiar story in which a lost and somewhat aimless young man ends up developing a friendship with an “older” woman (Dakota Johnson is only 32 years old, able!) and his autistic daughter. As someone who can’t seem to find his place, he will invariably find that bar mitzvah entertainer may be the profession that suits him best. And between birthday parties and a dangerous approach to a committed woman, Andrew will learn to navigate the feeling of first love – this time at the height of his 22 years.
And with a slightly dysfunctional family, but full of love, he still becomes the classic adult figure who, as he faces his own dilemmas in love and in the professional, is also the contrast to his little brother, a boy of 13 years full of doubts, but who seems to have a lot more to teach him than he could ever hope for. And so, Cha Cha Real Smooth unfolds before our eyes like a delicate non-romantic comedy, the kind that rocks us in the arcs of its characters, even if its steps are doubtful. Here, Raiff makes us love the imperfections and discrepancies of its protagonists, making us see remnants of ourselves in them. Who has never felt dissatisfied in their profession? Who hasn’t felt confused? Who was never afraid of not being loved? Such rhetoric is the foundation of his film, which also explores autism through a subtle and realistic perception.
And with an adapted soundtrack that opens the film to the sound of Lupe Fiasco, traveling through teen and indie bands, the dramedy promotes laughter without forcing and without losing the sensitivity that runs through the pain of its main protagonists. And with such charismatic characters – especially that of Raiff -, there’s no way the movie can’t be a hit. With a bittersweet flavor and an ending that leaves the most inveterate lovers adrift, Cha Cha Real Smooth delivers the outcome that the audience needs, promoting a warm and nurturing experience.
Making a constant generational contrast between all the characters, the comedy is still a reflection on how all of us – in a way – are going through some kind of coming of age. Still exploring autism with responsibility and affection, the film presents us with an unusual and captivating friendship between an almost adult and a pre-adolescent too pure for this world so sagacious and perverse. And under the charm and charm of Raiff, Cha Cha Real Smooth takes us by the hand and makes us fall in love with the optimism, good humor and passion of a big boy who – with great difficulty – will discover that growing up is a never-ending process.