Maturity and “Cha Cha Real Smooth”


Grace Sherban

Campus editor Grace Sherban is once again reminiscing about this past summer. Read her thoughts on the film “Cha Cha Real Smooth” below.

Grace Sherban, Campus Editor

On a random Tuesday night over the summer, I had the sudden urge to go to the movie theater. I checked what movies were being shown at Cedar Lee Theater and decided to go see Cooper Raiff’s “Cha Cha Real Smooth.” 

I’d been hearing a lot of positive buzz around the movie so I hopped in Alana, my Hyundai Elantra, and drove to the movie theater. The film was showing in the smallest theater I had ever been in which had about 20 seats and a screen no bigger than the one in Schott Dining Hall.  

As soon as the lights went down, the film had me completely under its spell. I was captivated from start to finish by its writing and performances, especially by writer/director Cooper Raiff. 

Ever since that original viewing over the summer, this movie has been in the back of my brain as something that I wanted to write about.  I find it to be very impactful. So, over fall break I rewatched “Cha Cha Real Smooth” and, yet again, the movie hit me like a truck. 

The film follows Andrew, played by Raiff, who is living at home with his younger brother, mom and stepdad after finishing college. While he is looking for a “grownup” job, he becomes a party starter at the bar and bat mitzvahs of family friends. It is at one of these parties where he meets Domino, played by Dakota Johnson, and her daughter Lola. 

Andrew starts an unusual friendship with Domino and Lola and the rest of the movie shows the impact that these two people have on him. Andrew has feelings for Domino but she resists Andrew’s advances because she wants consistency in her life. Not to mention, she is also engaged. 

The most prominent aspect of this movie, in my eyes, is the whole concept of maturity. Andrew is a 22-year-old guy living at home who is viewed as immature in the eyes of his stepdad and other parents because he is a party starter at children’s parties. Despite these circumstances, the feelings that Andrew is trying to navigate are the opposite of immature. 

It is also important to note that the film starts with a twelve-year-old Andrew asking out a party starter, who politely declines based on his age. This opening begins to enforce the idea that even when he is grown up, Andrew is still viewed as a child.  

The whole concept of maturity is something that I find perplexing. For example, eighteen-year-olds are sent away from home with barely any supervision and are viewed as immature if they don’t study on Saturday nights. On the other hand, actual adults are still viewed as mature even if they have a little too much fun at a Jimmy Buffett concert over the weekend. 

Maturity is fluid and depends on the context of the situation. People have a variety of expectations of what a person should act like and these assumptions dictate whether or not people are viewed as mature. In all honesty, maturity does not matter as much as we think it should. 

I’ll be the first person to admit that, sometimes, I act immature; everyone acts immature in their own way. People are defined as immature by others who act in a different way whether it be emotionally or physically. I thought it was very mature to go drive to see a movie by myself over the summer but others may think the opposite way. 

The main point that I am trying to make about “Cha Cha Real Smooth” is that we must find the right people in our life so that we can be our true selves. It just so happens that a part of our truest self might be a little immature. 

Andrew is able to find that in Domino but insinuating circumstances make their connection more complicated. Domino views Andrew’s immaturity as one of his biggest strengths and vice versa. The ability to harken back to a childlike innocence is a skill that everyone should have and should not be frowned upon.

This depiction of maturity is one of the many reasons why “Cha Cha Real Smooth” is one of the best films of 2022. The film is able to pose a lot of tough questions, besides the concept of maturity, that the viewer might not like to ask themselves. I’ll leave you with one of those questions. Towards the end of the movie, this query is subtly proposed. In life and friendships, “are you holding back a desire to be close or a desire to be distant?”