A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Your twenties are a time of self-discovery, and with that comes taking chances and making mistakes. Older adults often seek security in relationships. People may come and go from your life, but memories always remain.
Positive Role Models
Andrew has a kind heart. He loves easily and cares deeply. He fights for the underdog, and he's (mostly) sensitive to the feelings of his little brother and his mom, though he's critical of his stepdad. Domino loves her daughter fiercely and is making safe choices to ensure a better future for both of them.
The main characters, most of whom are White, form part of the Jewish community, though they're not all Jewish themselves. Some neurodiversity and mental health representation: One character is autistic, and others live with depression and bipolar disorder.
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Violence & Scariness
A woman has a miscarriage in a public restroom, resulting in a lot of blood. A man falls and cuts his arm. Kids bully an autistic classmate. A fist fight breaks out among kids and adults at a party.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters flirt, kiss, and have sex. No nudity, but a woman tells her lover to go "harder." A middle schooler is dating and planning his first kiss. Talk of a substitute teacher having sex with the school principal.
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Lots of use of "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "bitch, " "ass," "d--k," "prick," "wet ass p---y," "slut," "sucks," "butt," "fart," "idiot," "dumb," "Jesus Christ," "oh God."
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Products & Purchases
Rubik's Cube, MoYu Cube, Fulbright, Tulane, Uber, some car and clothing brands may be glimpsed.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults get drunk at parties and bars. One drives, then calls home for a ride. A character sneaks vodka while working. Two characters come home from a date drunk. Someone makes a joke about a person "smoking crack."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cha Cha Real Smooth is a coming-of-age drama about a recent college grad named Andrew (Cooper Raiff). It deals with serious themes, including the challenge of finding a real job/career, the responsibilities of adult life, mental health issues, neurodivergence, love, and loss. Andrew gets gigs as a "party starter" at bar and bat mitzvahs. He meets and falls in love with Domino (Dakota Johnson), who has a daughter with autism. Andrew embodies the reality that your twenties can be a time of self-discovery and big feelings, as well as making (and learning from) mistakes. He and his friends drink heavily on occasion, including while he's at work and before driving. Characters flirt, kiss, and have sex. There's no nudity, but a woman tells her lover to go "harder." A middle schooler is dating and planning his first kiss. Expect lots of strong language, including "f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," "bitch," "p---y," "d--k," "Jesus Christ," and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This drama is quirky and touching, and it hinges on magnetic central performances from Raiff, Johnson, and Mann. If you crossed Woody Allen with Edward Burns, you might get something like Cha Cha Real Smooth writer-director-star Raiff. His Andrew is nerdy and prone to misspeak, but he's also kind, sensitive, and ready to discover the world -- or at least greater New Jersey. His neuroses and blunders can be humorous, like his sweet and sometimes misguided advice to brother David, but they also get him into trouble. When he makes yet another imprudent move, while he's drunk to boot, his excuse -- or realization -- that he's just a "dumb kid" feels significant. He even asks his mom how much more growing up he still has left to do. Your twenties can be fun, but the uncertainty and the missteps can be difficult, too.
Raiff's performance makes Andrew feel somehow both rock solid and trustworthy, yet always on the verge of possibly breaking down. Johnson matches him, as does Mann as his unstable but loving mom. When Domino and Andrew eventually break up (as you suspect they will all along), the scene captures the essence of what's so fundamentally different about being an unencumbered 22-year-old versus a 30-something with dependents and responsibilities.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.