April 2003
The Real Cancun

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

The Real Cancun
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Director: Rick De Oliveira
Producers: Mary-Ellis Bunim, & Jonathan Murray
Supervising Film Editor: Ben Salter
Cast: Benjamin, Nicole, Roxanne, Brittany, David, Jeremy, Amber, Paul, Sky, Laura, Matthew, Alan, Heidi, Jorell, Casey, & Sarah
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 97 min


Since the start of these “reality” series took place a few years ago, every producer with a vision and a camera wanted to get in on the action. From “The Real World”, to “The Survivor” series, to “Joe Millionaire”, it took some time to get an audience but some of them have actually attracted die-hard fans. People can’t seem to get enough of these “real” soap operas. Taking it a step further, New Line Cinema and the producers of the long-running series, “The Real World” and “Road Rules” are looking for the gold now while the trend is still hot. Being released this week after completing filming a month ago is “The Real Cancun”, an R-rated “reality feature film” on kids having fun while vacation in Mexico during Spring Break. While some may find the film oft-putting like the other TV reality shows, the film itself is quite appealing and funny and should make a boatload of money from individuals who want to venture into someone else’s world.

Bringing in 16 individuals from different colleges across the country is a very good way to establish diversity. Everyone comes in with a different attitude. Some are looking to have fun and enjoy the free paid trip, while others want to step it up a bit with the sexual escapades, and drinking binge. If anyone has ever gone to the Vineyard with a crew of guys or girls during the 4th of July, you know your agenda will change once you hit the beach. Each person is quickly identified. There’s Casey, the oldest of the group at 25, who thinks he’s Peter Pan and Spring Break is an everyday thing. Roxanne and Nicole are the twins from Texas who are “glad” to be away from home. Jeremy is the classical “ladies' man” who can’t wait to get started on wooing women, Paul and Jorell are the African-Americans who came together and are vying for the only sister, Sky, in the group. And then there’s Alan, the nerdy kid who never drank alcohol before. Boy!! Is he in for the ride of his life?

Much of what occurs in “The Real Cancun” is no different than what you would see in a “Real World in Malibu Beach” series. But from a film perspective, a lot of credit goes to the editor of the film. Instead of drawing out the scenario in a TV series format that would last for a season, you have a story building in just an hour and a half. Of course, there are parts that we don't need in the film such as the quick edits of the party scenes and the drinking festivities, but when the camera focuses on some individuals, you can’t help but be involved in their story and see where it goes. The storyline, if you can call it that, involving Sky and Paul, is very interesting. The agenda on the surface is not all what it seems to be. Some may recall their past as they see what develops here. Unlike TV, you will see some flesh and more drinking here than normally expected. That’s a good thing. This film wouldn’t be “real” if it didn’t include situations that occur during Spring Break vacation spots. Even rapper Snoop Doog has some fun while performing on stage. The highlight of the film is definitely Alan. From the moment he’s introduced, there was no question as to what would happen next, but he’s funny, appealing, and consciously aware of his change. Director Rick De Oliveira has a crafted a sexy, funny, and kinetic film that moves swiftly and keeps you interested. All of the 16 “players” in the film are to be commended for sharing so much as to who they are. Reality series are not for everyone, but “The Real Cancun” is definitely worth a look.