I grew tired of The Bachelorette near the end of its run, never even saw Meet My Folks, and Survivor got the boot from my schedule because Scrubs was just too good.
Obviously not a reality-TV junkie, I nevertheless know what kind of melodramatic but effective schlock works for me in these shows. Some of that admittedly is present in The Real Cancun, a cinematic offering from the production team behind MTV’s The Real World. But the movie was filmed and edited in about two months and it really, really shows.
Without a notebook, good luck remembering the names of more than five characters. (And even I must take the Internet Movie Database’s word for it that “Ben” and “Brittany” were in the movie.) Several players easily could have easily been edited out of the picture.
And the two most interesting “plots” are no more interesting than what’s all over TV, if you don’t count the bared breasts and blue language that you can’t get on MTV. Chronicling the spring break for 16 college students, The Real Cancun throws the hard bodies into a casa grande for a week where they drink, flirt, have sex, dance, drink, flirt, have more sex and dance.
The most intriguing, but certainly not most intelligent, character in the movie is the one who at first does none of those things — Alan, a Pepsi aficionado chastised for not wanting to “ruin his soberness.”
Also a novice at dance-floor grinding, Alan is none too smooth with the women. Admittedly, it’s his junior-high dorkiness that gives him that train-wreck appeal. He has a strange, outspoken fascination with breasts, uses “You’re hot!” as a come-on and gets hung up on when dialing the one woman who gives him her digits.
For what it’s worth, Alan’s tequila-fueled evolution into a social butterfly is worth a laugh. And there’s something strangely, surprisingly sweet about his time with Julie, the free spirit with whom he bonds.
Aside from him and a humorous on-off flirtation between self-professed “token Black girl” Sky and low-level player Paul, there’s not much else to care about.
Sky sort of digs suave Jeremy, but thanks to a strategically placed camera, we know he prefers small-town Laura (well, at least for awhile). When spoiled Matt pours urine on the oh-so-attached Sarah’s leg to heal her jellyfish sting, the camera acts like it’s the tarmac kiss from Casablanca.
“Model” Casey wears puffy paisley shirts and unsuccessfully hits up women for showers. Long-time friends Heidi and Dave have a tired, will-they-or-won’t-they hook up story. And twins Nicole and Roxanne bare all in a wet T-shirt contest in a sad, shameless bid to get two minutes’ worth of screen time. All of this is as pedestrian as it sounds.
With its shimmering cinematography, The Real Cancun is better at hiding the city’s grimy exterior than being fun to watch. The very definition of intermittent entertainment, it makes no good case for moving the reality-TV medium to theaters.