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The Real Cancun

MTV's feature film The Real Cancun (2003) deserves an Academy Award. Doubtless there are those who recoiled in horror as the unremitting virus of "Reality-TV" jumped its small-screen host and infected the multiplexes, but from a purely technical point-of-view, MTV — which pioneered and perfected this most recent strain of documentary-based series television with "The Real World" in 1991 — has once again produced a dazzling work of virtuoso music editing. Sure, The Real Cancun offers up the expected narrative of twelve horny, drunken, post-teen party animals, shacked up in a dream house for a week as they hedonistically rampage through spring break in Cancun, Mexico. The resulting film is fast-paced, titillating, raucous, unnerving, and conscienceless, as is all good reality TV. The young, pretty cast has its standouts (and a few who virtually disappear): the feckless brain-cavity Casey, who asks every girl in Cancun if she'll make out with him; the charismatic, cheerfully self-pitying wallflower Jorell; the sociopathic ladies' man Jeremy, who bats around the emotions of small-town Laura; the fun-loving, guitar-playing Dave and his platonic friend Heidi; silicon Sarah struggling with monogamy in the presence of impatient spiky-haired Matt; innocent Alan, whose first-ever drink launches him on an orgiastic crusade for "boobies"; smooth Paul and his relentless pursuit of hard-to-get Sky; the wild (and hoarse) twins Nicole and Roxanne, whose wet t-shirt tag-team bump-and-grind is certain to go down in voyeurism history; and the obligatory appearance by Snoop Dogg. The Real Cancun is the perfect antidote for anyone who has bemoaned the lack of plot in the "Girls Gone Wild" series, and will likely be met with contempt by nearly everyone else. One aspect that cannot be questioned, however, in this abridged big-screen blow-up of "The Real World"-formula, is the fine art of music editing. Once again, MTV's stable of audio savants have excelled at creating a pulsating song-score mix of pop hits and obscurities that flawlessly complements the action in mood and rhythm (Simple Plan's "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" gloriously captures the essence of this film, and MTV in general). It's a terrific case study of an often neglected art form, and when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences snobbishly overlooks The Real Cancun in its nominations for Best Documentary (what other recent documentary, has, sans-political-agenda, given a more accurate look at contemporary life, or been as guiltily entertaining?) it should at least pay homage to the geekish gods in the Sound Department, who are the very best in their field. Directed by Rick de Oliveira. The Real Cancun looks and sounds great on New Line's DVD in a bright and colorful anamorphic transfer (1.78:1) with both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround tracks. An "All Access Pass" menu offers a half-hour of fun post-filming interviews with selected cast members, and the 12 minutes of deleted scenes reveal some heretofore unseen hook-ups and personality clashes. Also included is a 12-minute featurette about the film's premiere with some cast interviews, a trailer, and TV spots. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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