If there’s anyone who knows how to get a bar mitzvah started, it’s the Jig Conductor. Have you met him? His real name is actually Andrew, and he’s played by Cooper Raiff in the trailer for Sundance darling Cha Cha Real Smooth.
Fresh out of college, Andrew feels like any recent grad would: hopeless, aimless, and jobless. That last one is factually incorrect, though—Andrew does have a job, he’s just not so proud of it. For a living, the 22-year-old is responsible for motivational dancing (yes, a real thing) at bar and bat mitzvahs of his younger brother’s classmates. Remember the DJ from your middle school dance? He has a real name and a real life.
But as anyone who has hosted middle school dances probably knows, it’s not a sustainable career. Andrew’s pretty damn good at his job—look at all those prepubescent dweebs getting their groove on!—but he wants to do something, anything else. So, when he meets a dazzling Dakota Johnson at one of his parties, his life is totally upended. She has that effect on everyone.
In actuality, Andrew becomes a sitter for Domino’s (Johnson) child Lola (Vanessa Burghardt) and not-so-subtly falls in love with her. She’s got a fiancé, though! Still, Andrew’s the best fit to watch Lola, bringing her out of her comfort zone and onto the dance floor from their very first interaction.
Cha Cha Real Smooth follows Cooper Raiff’s debut feature, Shithouse, another indie coming-of-age film that similarly followed adrift university students released in 2020. His new film debuted at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to glowing reviews, leading Apple TV+ to purchase the film for a summer debut. It went on to win the festival’s Audience Award.
If that pattern sounds a little familiar, that’s because it’s exactly the same path Coda followed last year. After debuting at Sundance, the indie film got picked up by Apple TV+, and released later in the summer. A few months later, Coda became the best picture winner at the Oscars. It’s way too early to be calling the Oscars shots at this point, but just a thought!
Cooper Raiff helms the film as its director, writer, and lead star, with Dakota Johnson playing opposite the creator. The film’s cast also includes Leslie Mann as Raiff’s mother, Evan Assante as his brother, Vanessa Burghardt, Brad Garrett, Odeya Rush, and Raúl Castillo.
Cha Cha Real Smooth will land on Apple TV+ on June 17.