Why Brad Garrett Connected To Cha Cha Real Smooth - Exclusive

"Cha Cha Real Smooth" is an indie comedy-drama written, directed, and produced by Cooper Raiff that premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The heartfelt film follows Andrew (also played by Raiff): After graduating college, he moves back to his hometown with no clear plans for the future. He learns more about himself and what he wants after befriending a local mom, Domino (Dakota Johnson), and her daughter, Lola (Vanessa Burghardt). The film also offers an intimate look at his relationships with his mother (Leslie Mann), younger brother (Evan Assante), and stepdad (Brad Garrett).


Prior to the film's release on Apple TV+, Garrett sat down for an exclusive interview with The List to talk about the film and his role in it. The "Everybody Loves Raymond" alum shared what connected him to this project and why he believes "smaller indie films [like "Cha Cha Real Smooth"] are the gold nuggets of a lot of filmmaking."

He found its message universal

Brad Garrett said he was excited to be part of "Cha Cha Real Smooth" because of Cooper Raiff's passion and the script. "It was so wonderfully written and a testament to the human condition on many levels," Garrett said. Although the film follows a 22-year-old finding his footing, as an older adult, Garrett still connected to that story and believes others will too. 


"When you hear about a coming-of-age movie, we think of like 17- or 18-years-old or ... we come of age many times in our life. I'm going through it right now at 62. We're hopefully always evolving," the actor said.

For Garrett, the film carries a hopeful message without being too on the nose. "It's a feel-good movie that doesn't try to preach, that doesn't try to fix problems. It's like, 'Hey, this is it, this is our life. This is where we are. And we're still dancing as fast as we can to figure it out.'"

He related to the stepfather and stepson dynamic

In "Cha Cha Real Smooth," Brad Garrett plays Andrew's (Cooper Raiff) stepfather, Greg. When Andrew moves back home from college, his mother and younger brother have moved from his childhood home to live with Greg, and the relationship between him and his stepfather is tense. That dynamic was another part of the story that Garrett easily connected with. 


"They were both looking to find their footing," Garrett said, "not only in life but in the relationship as a stepson and stepfather, which is something I'm very familiar with because I had a great stepdad growing up, but also a stepdad that had trouble navigating his emotions."

Garrett added that he thinks a competitive relationship, as shown in the film, is common between stepson and stepfather — especially at the beginning. "Here's this guy coming into his life. He's running the show," he said about the way Andrew sees his stepdad. "Greg is really just flying by the seat of his pants. He's learning every day, like Cooper is. That's what they have in common."

The comedy felt authentic

"Cha Cha Real Smooth" does an excellent job blending drama with comedy and heartfelt moments. For Brad Garrett, that careful balance between humor and more serious topics was an essential part of the project. "Just as in life, there's a lot of comedy and drama," he said, adding later, "It felt like the humor came out of character as opposed to just being jokes or jokey. It seemed to come out of what each character was going through, which always makes it more authentic."


It also felt natural to Garrett to blend comedy and drama because people often use humor to deal with difficult times. "I've used humor my whole life as a defense, as a relief, as a tool. And if it's really accurate to the human condition, it's going to have comedy, often dark comedy, and it's going to have drama," he said.

"Cha Cha Real Smooth" is available on Apple TV+.