The Real Cancun
Grade: D
Year: 2003
Director: Rick de Oliveira
Genre: Documentary
Rated: R
By Scott Spicciati

As a fan of the multiple "Real World" series, you can be sure that I my assessment of "The Real Cancun" is fair and unbiased. Produced by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, the same creators of those addicting MTV reality series, this is supposedly the first feature length documentary about college kids on Spring Break.

Now I like "Real World," because the cast on those shows do different things from episode to episode. In "The Real Cancun," 16 college teens, eight guy and eight girls, all do same thing throughout the entire week they're in Cancun, Mexico. An entire week; that's 168 hours of footage to work with. Should it be surprising that the best 90 minutes of their spring break was nothing more than sex, alcohol, and talk about sex and alcohol?

That's the plot: 16 kids in a house with all the alcohol they can drink. The producers take the best footage from the vacation and splice it together. Now we have our movie. Make sure the kids are diverse and will either want to screw or hate each other. Now we have our movie.

As for the cast members, listing them out would mean they deserve credit for being in a movie. They're a stupid bunch with nothing intelligent to say. At one point, a girl actually responds to a guy who just told her he's too drunk to swim, by saying, "You can't be too drunk. It's impossible to be too drunk."

Then again, maybe they weren't allowed to be smart. I couldn't help but wonder if the filmmakers purposely edited out any evidence of intelligence from the cast. Filmed when the United States was at the crux of the war, there was no discussion on Iraq. I'm sure if there was a conversation about Saddam Hussein, it was probably about what his blood alcohol tolerance is.

A few characters (either the better or more pathetic looking) get more screen-time than others. We meet a good-boy named Alan. Wearing Drew Carey eyeglasses (either by choice or movie wardrobe), he tells everyone he's never had a drink in his life. When his friends would offer him alcohol, he opted for milk. Of course that becomes a thing of the past when he learns what a body shot is. After one drink, the pure-and-innocent country boy yells, "I wanna' see some boobies!" This is just after one drink; it gets worse.

Yes, there's nudity. But if you plan on seeing this just for the skin, then you will be sadly disappointed. But then again, there isn't much else to look forward to. The most concentrated amount flesh-flashing happens early on. Two cast members, best known as The Twins, strip down in a wet t-shirt contest and begin groping each other as they are soaked in water and cheered on by the crowd. Something very similar happens in the new movie "Confidence," but here, this is the real thing. I'm sure their parents must be very proud of their daughters.

But it's not all bare skin. To mix things up a little, there are a lot of slow-motion thong sequences and dry-humping; the cameras make sure to capture it all. Some might enjoy this kind of entertainment, but trust me when I say it's no different than "Wild on E!" As for capturing the beauty of Cancun Mexico, I recommend the Discovery or Travel Channel.

Few movies have a more inappropriate title than "The Real Cancun." There's nothing real about it. Let me make myself clear. A documentary about 16 college kids with unlimited access to free alcohol would have been more realistic than this. While that is the case here, the film also throws in some questionable plot-fillers. I don't know who to blame for this, so I'll equally rebuke director Rick de Oliveira and the producers. In a rare scene that doesn't involve drinking or sex talk, a girl from the house goes bungee-jumping. As she dives headfirst, she gets close to the water but recoils back up after her hands barely graze the surface of the water. Yet somehow, she gets stung by a jellyfish on her thigh. Do the filmmakers think we're that stupid? And worse, we never see the sting. Of course the camera doesn't mind showing girls shaking their thongs and men pulling down their shorts, but when it comes to a jellyfish sting, the camera stays at the waist. At this point, a guy character commits the heroic act and urinates in a cup. After he fills it to the brim, the cup is poured (we see the urine) over the thigh already covered with a napkin (probably to hide the fact that there was no wound).

There are other hints of fabrication, like the shot of everyone on the pier as the sun goes down over the beautiful ocean. I wonder how many directors it must have taken to position everyone just the right way on the bridge. It's the only time they're not getting trashed or wishing they were getting sex. As soon as that scene finishes, it's back to the house for more drinking.

There are some dialogue exchanges between the characters. A girl ponders if she should tell her boyfriend back home about the crazy things she did this week; while I ponder if she knows what a movie camera is, and that by saying such a confession is already answering her own question. A more embarrassing moment takes place when a girl who already has a boyfriend begins freaking out when she catches one the guys making out with another woman. F-you, she repeatedly screams at him as the tears roll down her cheeks. Why does she get so upset even though she has a boyfriend? Ah, it's the principle. It doesn't matter that these kids will never see each other again when the week is over; girls still get hurt when their guy friends (just friends) kiss other girls.

This perplexing trend continues when Sky, the token black girl, freaks out after a guy she already rejected has sex with another girl the same day he met her. Don't worry; I know what you're thinking. Yes, thanks to a night-vision camera, we do see two people have sex. While the sheets may block our vision, we do get to hear the moaning.

I knew "The Real Cancun" was going to be exactly what I expected, but I was waiting for the message; the repercussions. I missed the main consequence of partying known as the hangover. These kids would down bottles of vodka and party all night, yet the next day they were ready to do it all over again. I missed the headaches, dry mouths, and non-stop vomiting. But I guess stuff like that doesn't happen in the real world. If these college kids did suffer such hangovers, then there wouldn't be any time for the wet t-shirt and hard body contests.

You might find it hard to believe that I'm telling you how unexciting the movie is. But the cast never leaves their hotel villa; when they do it is to a club or another bar. At the beginning of the film, a guide informs the Spring Breakers of the many exciting excursions Cancun has to offer. But these kids don't leave the house. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, because Spring Break isn't really that exciting for people watching it take place from a movie theater. Bungee-jumping isn't that exciting to watch, and dolphin-petting isn't much of a spectator sport either.

What else does this film have to offer, you may be asking? Several times we get the pleasure of watching two strangers engage in intercourse. Although the sheets are covering them, little is left to the imagination when the person on top is violently thrusting while panting like a dehydrated dog.

In the end, I found myself liking only one person out of the entire bunch. His name is Casey, and throughout the film he continually asks girls to either get naked or make-out with him. He never succeeds but he remains optimistic. And for that I laughed. No, I didn't like the movie. Not at all. Reality-TV fans have already made up their minds; no movie review will persuade them. If you've never seen a Bunim or Murray production before, then now is not the time to start. But for those who've decided to see this movie anyway, I will tell you--yes, I laughed a few times. And I couldn't have felt more guilty for doing so.

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Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Contact Editor: Scott Spicciati