Cha Cha Real Smooth not only showcases evolutionary talent and a new phenom, but brings those forces together to an alchemist fever pitch. Cooper Raiff, the aforementioned wunderkind also wrote and directed this emotionally moving gem.
Dakota Johnson (who I have loved since Peanut Butter Falcon) shines as the outwardly chill, but inwardly restless single Mom. Her chemistry with Raiff is palpable. They are equally charming and beguiling. Though seven years separates them, you still root for the solace they feel in each other’s company.
Which leads me to the miracle that is Cooper Raiff’s writing…that at 25 he can communicate life maxims, as when Dakota’s character explains that the beauty lies in possibilities which are better left at the door of day to day responsibilities which would kill the allure. My only argument is that she goes on to say that chemistry and fun don’t add up to a relationship, when in fact, they come in all shapes and sizes, especially in a society that has been forced to isolate and is still being encouraged to do so (high gas prices, binge watch tv and video games, grub hub, etc, etc). The other proverb recently put forth in the novel Klara and the Sun and Sam Hunt’s country tune “23” is that memories don’t ever die even if relationships do (or whatever Dakota’s character thought they were doing).
A few more words on the other tremendous actors involved: Leslie Mann, who I’ve abhorred as an absolute whiny diva actually feels like a normal human being here. I was moved by her performance. Evan Assante, who plays Cooper’s little brother, is a an actor to watch. He broke my heart over and over again. Brad Garrett has to play such a schlump, but does it so sympathetically. Even Raul Castillo is terrific as Dakota’s Alpha fiancee.
When a film has the triumvirate of great acting, moving story and layered universal truths, you have a cinematic masterpiece.