A scene from 'The Real Cancun'
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** stars
90 minutes | Rated: R
WIDE: Friday, April 25, 2003
Directed by Rick De Olivereira


If watching worthlessly shallow college kids get loaded is your idea of fun, then this is the rental for you. If it's the "Girls Gone Wild" factor you're after, why not get "Girls Gone Wild"? Especially since there's no extra footage or DVD bonus features.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 07.01.2003

  • Reality TV movies

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    Sixteen shameless, superficial college kids get wasted and laid in pointless reality-TV spawn 'The Real Cancun'

    By Rob Blackwelder

    Venturing into the R-rated territory they always aspired to anyway, the creators of MTV's reality soap "The Real World" took 16 largely interchangeable, generically attractive, shameless and shallow spring breakers to Cancun last month, put them up in a fancy beach-front resort, and filmed them getting drunk, having sex and flexing their egos (or getting them pummeled).

    The result is "The Real Cancun," a transparently rushed (in an attempt to beat a similar project to theaters), slapped-together mish-mosh of superficial frivolity from which few people emerge with their dignity intact -- although most of them are too oblivious to realize it.

    One big montage sequence of margarita body shots, parties and 20-year-old twins grinding on each other in wet T-shirt contests, director Rick De Olivereira (whose only previous credit is a video called "Who Wants To Be a Playboy Centerfold?") completely ignores any of the college-kid "cast" members whose week in the sun cannot be sensationalized. So the movie's focus falls mainly on the girls who will take their tops off, three arrogant Lotharios -- one of whom takes a housemate to bed on the second night and literally never speaks to her again -- and one harmless, sexually frustrated 19-year-old guy named Alan with such a tendency to choke around pretty girls that he literally runs away from one who's coming on to him.

    Alan (who looks like a skinny, teenaged Matt Damon) has never had a drink in his life, so the rest of the partiers spend the movie pressuring him into getting loaded, which he eventually does (trying desperately to fit in), losing all his inhibitions in the process. But when he meets a girl he really likes and spends a whole night talking to her, De Olivereira implies he's still the house loser by inter-cutting his affable (and successful) flirtation with night-vision bedroom-cam footage of two other guys getting laid, as if to say, "See, Alan couldn't close the deal."

    Other "stories" get a moment here or a moment there: unrequited love between two opposite-sex best friends; a girl who is tempted to cheat on her boyfriend by an arrogant trust-fund brat, then becomes wildly jealous when he bags another beach bunny; a similar near-coupling that blows up when the girl plays hard-to-get. But "The Real Cancun" barely takes the time to establish most of these people's personalities. If they're not brazenly calling attention to themselves, De Olivereira isn't terribly interested.

    More than a decade old now, "The Real World" TV show has always had a modicum more dignity and depth than the rest of the deplorable reality-TV fad it spawned. But that's all gone in "The Real Cancun." The flick's spring break atmosphere does provide some vicarious guilty pleasure, but its "characters" are, on the whole, the kind of worthless, vacant people who aren't good for anything but reality programming -- which invites the question: Who's more shallow, the people who want to be in a reality movie or the people who pay to see one?


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