Dakota Johnson in Cooper Raiff Romance – The Hollywood Reporter

Building on the strengths of the premiere just held, maintaining a distinctive perspective while expanding the reach of sympathy, Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha is so smooth is a more mainstream movie of the 2020s Shithouse without feeling a bit generic. (As with the first film, titles aren’t Raiff’s strong points.) Dakota Johnson joins the director as a single mother captivated by her ability to connect with her autistic child. young men. The attraction quickly goes much deeper than that, creating a potential love story that has complications that feel like distillations from life like the heartbreak and homesickness of the previous film.

Unlike the first movie, this one offers a number of well-drawn characters that we can imagine versions of the story where each is the main character: Leslie Mann, as the main character. is a mother grieved by her son’s tendency to love despite his chances; Evan Assante as David, Raiff’s college graduate brother even as he’s stuck sleeping in his crib in the boy’s bedroom; and Lola (whose newcomer easily defeats Vanessa Burghardt), the bullied but confident daughter the story revolves around. But especially Johnson’s Domino, a character the film accepts as more complex than our hero, with unclear motives that don’t necessarily account for his satisfaction.

Cha Cha is so smooth

Key point

A confident step in a growing career.

Location: Sundance Film Festival (American Drama Competition)

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Cooper Raiff, Vanessa Burghardt, Evan Assante, Brad Garrett, Leslie Mann, Raúl Castillo, Odeya Rush

Director-Scriptwriter: Cooper Raiff

1 hour 47 minutes

Raiff’s Andrew just graduated from college without much of a plan. He hopes he can make enough money to follow his girlfriend to Barcelona, ​​but working at a hot dog stand in a shopping center makes that a long way off. An unlikely side hustle comes to fruition when, pursuing David at a low-energy bat mitzvah party, he ends up convincing the entire audience to step on the dance floor and have fun. At the end of the night, Jewish mothers were lining up to hire him as a good catalyst in their own events.

None of that would have happened if he hadn’t discovered the two outcasts early in the night. Beautiful but unhappy looking, Domino walks into the room with malicious gossip (someone whispers she’s the “crazy mother” who took someone else’s husband) and a daughter who is intent on not getting along. import. Put on loud headphones and focus on the giant block puzzle, Lola definitely won’t be dancing tonight. Until Andrew convinces her.

If that doesn’t make Andrew Domino’s Prince instantly glamorous, a small emergency at another party showcases his deep compassion and ability to improvise. By the end of this evening, Lola had decided Andrew would be her babysitter (she could tell he wouldn’t treat her like a child), and the two adults had shared enough. to each other that further intimacy seemed inevitable. A bittersweet opening shows how easy it is for Andrew to envision love connections that don’t exist; but there’s nothing fancy about the chemistry between the two.

Nor is it beyond imagination: Domino’s fiancé Joseph (Raúl Castillo), is currently on a business trip to Chicago. But that didn’t stop the two from spending time together, or stopping Andrew from babysitting when Joseph returned to town. When the men finally meet, Cha Cha dance wondering if Joseph was the bad guy to be the best, a good match for Domino’s or something else. Among the main characters, only Andrew’s stepfather is seen from a harsher perspective. (It’s no coincidence that a film by a sensitive, young man offers the least sympathy for older adults unaffected by a lack of confidence. But in the end, Cha Cha dance treat these two as humans.)

Andrew’s no Holy: When he feels rejected or teased by Domino, he quickly tries to connect with the hot classmate (Odeya Rush) he dreamed of in high school. He’s not mastered the art of drinking either: Several moments of drunkenness and/or overactivity allow Raiff to show he has some chance between mild disappointment and full-blown romantic despair. Shithouse. But then Andrew has a lot more emotional intelligence than the Alex of that movie. As this story develops, he will need it.

If Cha Cha dance Should he hook up with a large enough number of filmmakers to make Raiff an in-demand talent, it’s likely he’ll end up facing some backlash as well. The world can be cruel to good boys, especially handsome guys whose connection skills rely on innocence and vulnerability. The speed with which he combined with the second film is such a guarantee that Raiff is not quite as soft off-screen as above; and the difference between this performance and the final one suggests that he will also have some scope as an actor. Here’s hoping he gets a chance to prove it soon.

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