The Real Cancun

Movie Information

Genre: Reality
Director: Rick de Oliveira
Starring: Brittany Brown-Hart, Benjamin Fletcher, Nicole Frilot, Roxanne Frilot
Rated: R

The Real Cancun is, I believe, the sixth sign of the Apocalypse (the seventh comes June 13 with the release of the American Idol spawn From Justin to Kelly). I hear that Cancun was shot a scant five weeks ago, meaning that the filmmakers should have been shot six weeks ago.

By now you know the premise: MTV’s Real World with breasts and bad language. The recipe: find 16 of the most shallow 20-somethings on the globe (and despite the fact that some of them are under 20-something, they’re going to spend the entire 90 minutes drinking) and let them loose on a wild spring-break week in Cancun just to see what happens. Clearly, this is a movie aimed at people who consider the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition the cultural event of the year.

Watching this “reality” rubbish, I kept being reminded of the late Quentin Crisp’s dictum, “Even the worst movie is at least better than real life.” Never has Mr. Crisp been so completely vindicated – if this is indeed even slightly related to real life. The reality aspect of the film is dubious. I don’t doubt that the dialogue is unscripted – and if it isn’t, it’s unlikely anyone would want to claim authorship. (I haven’t heard the word “dude” this many times since The Big Lebowski.) But the setup is not only contrived, it’s downright familiar. Basically, it’s structured like a Friday the 13th movie without Jason showing up to thin the herd.

Plop a group of horny, drunken, uninteresting young folks into a setting and wait for the results. They’re all pretty much the expected types – the popular girl, the narcissistic guy, the nerdy guy, the black girl, and so on. Somewhat amusingly, the black girl seems to realize that she’s a token character. If this really were a Friday the 13th picture, she’d know she was slated to be the first one to go. But the movie seems to mostly be interested in focusing on The Nerd. I suppose that’s because seeing him corrupted by the others provides some kind of otherwise nonexistent dramatic tension. Will he take his …first drink? Will he then bloom into an un-nerdy character and get beyond the level of chanting, “I wanna see some boobies,” and actually get a date with something that doesn’t first have to be inflated? The answers are pretty predictable – and the message is certainly morally suspect.

Not that the film is without its educational value. For example, I never knew that human urine would serve as a treatment for a jellyfish sting, and I certainly never realized that pouring your urine over a stung girl’s leg was a surefire method of getting a date (I guess it’s an icebreaker of some sort). I’m sure the families of these kids are mightily glad that their last names weren’t used. Good Lord, it’s going to be embarrassing enough for some poor schlep of a father going into work and being asked, “Didn’t I see your daughter with whipped cream down her butt bumping and grinding with another naked girl?” without the guy at least being able to deny the relationship.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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