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The Real Cancun

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
The Real Cancun
from Film Forum, 05/01/03

There's a movie opening soon called Dumb and Dumberer, but it is unlikely that the film will match the brazen foolishness on display in The Real Cancun, which opened this week. There's a big difference, however: the characters in Dumberer are fictional, and they're supposed to be stupid, whereas Cancun glorifies its shallow sensualists and romanticizes reckless behavior in its carefully calculated "reality."

Someone should confront MTV's movie division on its false advertising. This movie, a spinoff of a popular reality-television show called The Real World, is not presenting the "real" anything. For one thing, these young and glamorous hedonists have been thrown together in a context calculated to sensationalize their beach-ready bodies and their eagerness to shed their clothes and moral convictions. Further, the film focuses only on the "fun" of now and not the larger perspective of how actions have consequences.

Is there anything good to say about such a venture? Perhaps. It appears to be failing at the box office. One critic, said in a news brief at, "It's not nice to savor other peoples' failures, but the idea of movie theaters being invaded by R-rated versions of reality TV shows is a SARS scare in its own right."

Steven Isaac (Focus on the Family) says, "It comes across like a way-too-long TV episode [of The Real World] doused with lots of extra sex, nudity, alcohol and obscenity. Onscreen, spring break is fun, fun, fun, and daddy never takes the T-bird away. Consider The Real Cancun the equivalent of a serious case of alcohol poisoning."

Some mainstream critics actually approved of the film, but most had fun taking potshots at an easy target. You can review their reviews here.

from Film Forum, 05/08/03

The so-called reality movie The Real Cancun may have found new lows in critical derision. David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says, "Every once in a while a movie is so utterly inane that to dignify it with a review seems to compound its absurdity by somehow deeming it worthy of analysis. Such is The Real Cancun—a film which gives credence to 20th-century Irish playwright St. John Ervine's assessment that most American movies are created 'by the half-educated for the half-witted.'"