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Cha Cha Real Smooth: release date, trailer, cast and everything we know about the 2022 Sundance winner

Cooper Raiff Dakota Johnson in Cha Cha Real Smooth
Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in Cha Cha Real Smooth (Image credit: Courtesy of Apple TV Plus)

Apple TV Plus has a heartwarming, crowd-pleasing movie that won big at the Sundance Film Festival, and no, we’re not talking about CODA, but rather Cha Cha Real Smooth. After the former won viewers over, including the Oscars, could Cha Cha Real Smooth become another hidden gem on the streaming service?

Cha Cha Real Smooth premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival back in January where it received strong buzz from critics and took home the Audience Award in the US Dramatic category; it was also a nominee for the festival’s Grand Jury Prize. It is now set to be one of the big titles that is part of Apple TV Plus' 2022 original movie lineup.

Here is everything else you need to know about Cha Cha Real Smooth?

When is the Cha Cha Real Smooth release date?

Cha Cha Real Smooth debuts on June 17 on Apple TV Plus and in select movie theaters. 

This is a similar release strategy that CODA during its run up to and after its Best Picture win, but that has been a rare incident for Apple TV Plus’ library of original movies thus far.

It was also announced that Cha Cha Real Smooth is part of the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival lineup, taking place June 8-19, which falls right in line with the movie's debut on Apple TV Plus.

Cha Cha Real Smooth trailer

Apple TV Plus has released the trailer for Cha Cha Real Smooth. Watch it directly below:

Cha Cha Real Smooth reviews 

As evidenced by the hardware it took home, we know Cha Cha Real Smooth was beloved by the audiences at Sundance 2022, but what did the critics think? They really liked it too.

Cha Cha Real Smooth currently (as of April 19) has a score of 91% "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 76 on Metacritic, which safely puts it in the "Good" tier on the site.

Matt Donato, writing a review for IGN, says Cha Cha Real Smooth is "the definition of feel-good filmmaking," while Collider and The Film Stage both praised writer/director/star Cooper Raiff as he continues to establish himself as an emerging talent. 

What is the Cha Cha Real Smooth plot?

Here is the official synopsis of Cha Cha Real Smooth from Apple TV Plus:

"Fresh out of college and without a clear life path going forward, 22-year-old Andrew is stuck back at home with his family in New Jersey. But if there’s one thing that belongs on his nonexistent résumé, it’s how to get a party started, which lands him the perfect job of motivational dancing at the bar and bat mitzvahs for his younger brother’s classmates. When Andrew befriends a local mom, Domino, and her daughter, Lola, he finally discovers a future he wants — even if it might not be his own."

Who is in the Cha Cha Real Smooth cast?

Leslie Mann, Cooper Raiff and Brad Garrett in a car in Cha Cha Real Smooth

Leslie Mann, Cooper Raiff and Brad Garrett in Cha Cha Real Smooth (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Headlining the Cha Cha Real Smooth cast is the movie’s triple threat of a writer, director and leading man Cooper Raiff as Andrew and Dakota Johnson as Domino, the local mom that he forms a bond with.

While Raiff is an emerging talent who we’ll discuss a bit more below, Johnson has become an established presence in Hollywood. First breaking out with her role as Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, Johnson has seen her star rise with roles in movies like Suspiria, Bad Times at the El Royale, The Peanut Butter Falcon and The Lost Daughter. Johnson is also serving as a producer on Cha Cha Real Smooth.

Other recognizable names in the cast include Leslie Mann (This Is 40, The Bubble) and Brad Garrett (Finding Nemo, Everybody Loves Raymond) as Andrew’s mom and stepdad. There’s also Raul Castillo (Army of the Dead) as Domino’s fiance Joseph and Odeya Rush (Lady Bird) as Andrew’s friend Macy.

A pair of newcomers also have big roles in Cha Cha Real Smooth, as Evan Assante plays Andrew’s younger brother, David, and Vanessa Burghardt plays Domino’s daughter Lola.

Vanessa Burghardt and Dakota Johnson in Cha Cha Real Smooth

Vanessa Burghardt and Dakota Johnson in Cha Cha Real Smooth (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Who is the Cha Cha Real Smooth director?

As mentioned above, in addition to starring in the movie, Cooper Raiff is the writer and director. Cha Cha Real Smooth is Raiff’s third feature movie and while it is poised to be his biggest thanks to the Apple TV Plus pickup, he has been building his reputation on the movie festival circuit, particularly with his sophomore effort, Shithouse.

Following a lonely college freshman who forges a friendship with his RA, Shithouse won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2020 South by Southwest Film Festival and created some buzz for the young filmmaker.

Behind the camera, he is making the jump from movies to TV, co-writing and directing for the Amazon Studios project Exciting Times, which is an adaptation of Naoise Dolan’s book of the same name and will star Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor.

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.