Quick-Thoughts: Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth

Random comment, but one of the messages in this was pretty much the same as one of the messages in The Worst Person in the World (2021), although that isn’t too surprising given what they’re both about, except they dialogue-explained it to death here which I didn’t mind howbeit too much; connecting the two was just such an “oh neat!” moment for me. 

Cooper Raiff’s second feature-length Cha Cha Real Smooth doesn’t quite conquer that legendary initial half from his first one, Shithouse. With that being said, however, Cha Cha Real Smooth undeniably won me over as a whole much more than Shithouse did as a whole. Part of this not only has to do with how much more tonally sleek its entirety is in comparison to Shithouse, but furthermore just how much more coordinated its ending feels in regards to how it reflects everything that happens beforehand, which is something resisting the main complaint I had with that previous outing.

As much as I miss the real-time style that I’m just praying Raiff brings back someday, I enjoyed the mainly traditional rom-com execution of this film despite it of course crossing some barriers regarding the types of rather untraditional restraints that it occasionally has on romanticization, as well as the admirably complicated and imperfect characters it depicts, particularly Dakota Johnson’s. I think Raiff is not only entrancing as an actor but also as a drafter of arresting personalities to match both him and his counterparts’ performance abilities, yet they have often resulted in being a lot more engaging than the actual stories he writes to place them in. That’s not to say though that this isn’t an acceptable narrative, cause it is; Raiff virtually balances charm with depression, introduces thematic weight concerning the crises of living throughout multiple lovers and a post-college stage that still continues to trouble letting go of family + past hobbies, all that sweet jazz. 

After Shithouse and now this, nonetheless, I can’t help but feel though as if Raiff is still underestimating the amount of potential his characters really have to progress the rom-com genre into trailblazing new directions rather than falling into safe-zone blatancies, but the fact that this is at least an improvement over Shithouse is honest hope that he will only continue to improve from here on out and reach that level one day.

Verdict: B-

2022 Ranked

“Cha Cha Real Smooth” currently does not have a release date yet.

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