Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Real Cancun (2003)

Starring 16 “party animals”
Rated R, 96 minutes

If this title doesn’t ring a bell and you don’t remember any of the commercials for it on TV, let me summarize. “Real Cancun” was mostly written off by people for being promoted as a movie version of “Real World.” It isn’t exactly that. I’m not even a staunch “Real World” defender – I’ve watched the show a handful of times and find it rather boring. But c’mon, there’s an inherent appeal to trash TV. It’s like the Enquirer back in the day; if you asked around to find who read it, you’d get a chorus of nos. Yet the thing sold millions of copies every week.

The movie opens abruptly with quick intro interviews with each member of the cast. In the end you won’t really get to know most of them, but who cares. There’s a set of twins, there’s a pair of black dudes, a man and woman who have been perpetually friends (which the rest of the cast take no time in prodding), the other nine, plus the only person to really get fleshed out between opening and closing: Alan, the token prude/non-drinker/etc. Having been “that guy” in similar situations in my younger days, I could sympathize with him. A lot of the movie is spent on his “baptism” into the Cancun scene, taking his first shots, etc.

The idea, which makes it a lot more fun and engaging than “Real World” ever could be, is that these people are in Cancun for a week at a house and go to a different club every night. Rather than drag out three months of living with no TV and having a job and whatever, this thing just supercharges the whole process and gets a week’s worth of debauchery lickety split. And the large cast makes for little in the way of dead air.

There are a lot of fun moments over the course of the movie. To wit: a discussion over which is better, head or sex. A running joke where an especially stereotypical blonde beach bum asks girls to make out with him.

I hate to turn something so trivial in to something monumental, but it is really cool for someone like myself who never lets go of his inhibitions to be a voyeur in to the lifestyles of these people. You get moments of women discussing their mindgames with men and it makes you want to throw something. You see what I feel to be sad, and that’s the constant badgering of the cast early on to get Alan to drink. You see him struggle with the relationship game and speaking out to castmates. You see painfully awkward moments where people get jealous and emotions come to a head. Actual relationships and emotions, all in a week – isn’t the human psyche interesting? It’s the kind of thing you watch and picture yourself in, no matter what your role would be.


So yeah, I think it’s pretty neat. I’m a sucker, like millions of others are, for this kind of stuff. The little differences between it and its TV counterparts make it worth the $5 DVD pickup or whatever it is now. I was very disappointed with the ending – it actually wasn’t trite enough. Things weren’t wrapped up as neatly as they really could have been. And the ending performances by Simple Plan and Snoop Dogg were the wrong kind of trite.

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