Sundance 2022 – Day 7 Reviews: Meet Me in the Bathroom and Cha Cha Real Smooth

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival completed its seventh day of virtual programming yesterday on January 26, 2022. That’s right! For seven days straight I have been watching an average of 3-4 movies a day. At this point in the festival, I’m playing catch-up on films whose premieres I missed. Unfortunately, it proved to be somewhat of a mediocre day. Here are my Day 6 Reviews of my Sundance 2022 Watchlist.

1) Meet Me in the Bathroom | Directors: Dylan Southern & Will Lovelace

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Rebecca Greenfield

Sundance Synopsis: Welcome to pre-9/11 New York City, when the world was unaware of the profound political and cultural shifts about to occur, and an entire generation was thirsty for more than the post–alternative pop rock plaguing MTV. In the cafés, clubs, and bars of the Lower East Side there convened a group of outsiders and misfits full of ambition and rock star dreams. When The Strokes secured a residency at the Mercury Lounge in 2000, the scene that had previously been ignored by record labels and music magazines took off.

Review: Directors Southern & Lovelace’s Meet Me in the Bathroom had the potential to be an extraordinary documentary, but it’s just simply not very well made. There were times in which I was glued to my screen thanks to some never-before-seen footage of bands that I’ve enjoyed. But overall, there was no clear direction.

The 9/11 clips in particular- especially those that showed the falling towers were quite unnecessary. The one thing I remember about those events is having to breathe in the dust everytime I walked outside — not how the music scene evolved because of this tragedy. This doc was a little too self-important if you ask me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

2) Cha Cha Real Smooth | Director: Cooper Raiff

Cha Cha Real Smooth
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Sundance Synopsis: Fresh out of college — but now what? Higher education failed to provide 22-year-old Andrew with a clear life path going forward, so he’s stuck back at home with his family in New Jersey. But if college did teach him one thing, it’s drinking and partying — skills that make him the perfect candidate for a job party-starting at the bar and bat mitzvahs of 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.

Review: I had a really hard time liking this film. There’s no denying the charming connections that are formed throughout this feature; but there is a severe lack of consideration for the supporting characters and who they are outside of their relationships with Andrew.

I don’t know if it was director Cooper Raiff’s intent, but the problems of his feature (character depth) are very well hidden and masked behind a very cute script, but it was glaringly obvious to me. A part of me thinks it’s because the dialogue came off a little unnatural. Instead of feeling like everyday conversations these people could have, it felt like it was meticulously put together as a means to explain how people should speak to one another.

I’m also very weirded out by them never disclosing Domino’s age. They avoided what could have been a lot of backlash… (Maybe not, though, considering what society makes of relationships when it comes to older women and younger adult males…) It felt a tad bit sneaky, but good on them of being aware of this.

Lastly, I think there were wonderful performances all around- specifically Dakota Johnson (Domino) and Vanessa Burghardt (Lola). But I want to take a moment to send accolades to Leslie Mann (Andrew’s mother). What she accomplished in this small role is so damn magnificent. And I hope people really pay attention to what she did here. I’m in awe.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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