THE REAL CANCUN
Director: Rick de Oliveira
MPAA Rating: (for strong sexuality/nudity, language and partying)
Running Time: 1:36
Release Date: 4/25/03
Review by Mark Dujsik
You know those people who get drunk and think everything they say is pure, unadulterated genius? Imagine yourself at a party with sixteen of them. Sounds bad, doesn't it? Well, now imagine that you’re the only sober one and that you have a really bad headache. Now imagine that someone has tied you to a chair in the middle of it all and that it's over an hour and a half before someone cuts you loose. That's about as close to describing the experience of watching The Real Cancun as I can think of. The Real Cancun exists under a few theories. If you give people what they want, they'll do whatever you want them to do. If you get enough alcohol in even the dumbest person, they'll think they sound like one of the immortal philosophers of old. If you tell a bunch of college students that they can go to Cancun and party nonstop and that the only catch is that they'll have cameras following them around and capturing their every embarrassing, drunken movement, you'd better believe that in today's world of reality television and fame-starved morons they'll do it without reservation.
I use the term "moron" affectionately, meaning that I do not use it in the offensive vein that was once used to describe the mentally challenged but in the way that I imply that these people are stupid. These waste-of-space (again, affectionately used) idiots (still affectionate) actually signed up for this Big Brother invasion of privacy dubbed a "reality" movie. The word "reality" is used loosely by the filmmakers and marketing gurus, because people surrounded by this many cameras certainly aren't going to act like themselves. And beyond that, we already have reality movies; they're called documentaries. What separates the so-called reality movie from the documentary is lost on me, but from what I can tell, it has something to do with breasts, booze, and banal subjects. Or maybe it's just the blatant exploitation. In a way, the movie fits its subjects, who talk about nothing but sex but seem a little uncomfortable with it. Note how everyone hides under the sheets or in the shower when doing—or, at least, pretending to do (one obvious scene in particular)—the deed. The movie loves the female body and has no qualms pumping up the events at a wet T-shirt contest. In an unintentionally sad moment, two of the subjects try to cover themselves up in front of the ravenous crowd after apparently realizing they went a bit too far.
If you're going to exploit one sex without reservation, in the name of fairness you should even the playing field. Not that these kids care; for them it's one big party. Take Alan, the conservative, sober anti-socialite, for example. If there's one character we begin to inch towards sympathizing with, it's Alan. Everyone in the house picks on him because he's not drinking. Now my main question is: Why did he audition for this if he wasn't going to drink? The answer: He starts drinking. It's the odd coincidental turns of events that bring into question the actual reality of this entire scenario. Too many of the fights and conversations seem staged—not scripted, mind you, but prompted. Two of the loners sit upstairs and discuss the coupling of the rest of the house, which seems like useless information to them but important to us since we have to follow sixteen housemates who are, for the most part, interchangeable. And then there's the jellyfish scene, in which one of the subjects is stung (although it certainly doesn't look like her leg ever came in contact with the water) and the paramedics tell her—with big, telltale smiles—that the only thing for her to do is to pour urine on it.We don't care for any of these people in the end, and we're lucky if we're able to name three of them. Without looking, I can name Alan, Sky, and I know one of them played a guitar (Look Mom, three bar chords!). It's a document of the decline of Western civilization, and no, it's not because everyone in it drinks, has sex, and parties but because when asked if someone could film it, they said yes.
Copyright © 2003 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.