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Movie Review

Billing it as the first-ever "reality feature film," New Line Cinema says The Real Cancun is "fun and sexy, unscripted and uncensored." Three of those adjectives are true; one is a lie. Tagging along on the hormonal, alcohol-soaked spring break adventures of 16 brain-dead teens and twentysomethings as they paint Mexico red is not "fun." I'll say this early so there's no misunderstanding: I can divine only one possible use for The Real Cancun. And that is to permanently persuade parents to prevent their offspring from heading south for spring break. So if you're toying with the idea of saying "yes" to eager young pleas—be they from 16-, 17-, 18- or 34-year-olds—watch and learn. If not, bundle up the family and make tracks for the Northern Territories.

positive elements: None.

spiritual content: Snoop Dogg uses an obscure reference to preaching and prophets to call attention to women's bodies.

nudity and sexual content: This is really the only reason The Real Cancun got made. Sex. Sex. And more sex. Couples go at it (clothed and unclothed) under blankets, on the beach, in showers, at clubs and in the pool. Girls pull off their own clothes—and each others'—during a "wet T-shirt contest." (It's in quotes because the event is more akin to a strip club tryout; T-shirts are pulled off long before they can get wet.) There are many, many scenes of breast nudity and rear nudity (female and male since the guys return the "wet tee" favor with a "naked man/mooning" contest). Girls kiss guys. Girls kiss girls. Girls fondle guys (who eagerly pet right back). Girls fondle girls (usually to turn on the guys). Several times during the movie night-vision cameras spy on sexually-active couples barely hidden under bed sheets. When the girls are clothed, it's barely. Bikinis and other revealing outfits rule. Most of the guys didn't even pack shirts. Freak dancing, grinding and all-out groping are the only things seen at the nightclubs. Frequent, obscene conversations cover the gamut of sexual topics from masturbation to penis size to oral sex to sodomy. A few giggling girls claim to be virgins; their actions indicate otherwise. When a woman plays hard-to-get, her suitor turns his attention to easier prey. (She acts offended but still hooks up with the man a day or so later.)

violent content: Rowdy crowds jostle and push for position. Drunken revelers fall down. Friends playfully push each other into a pool.

crude or profane language: Every other word is either the f-word or the s-word. Crowds shout out the f-word as a salute to "good times." Conversations run so heavy with it that it's sometimes layered three-deep in a given moment. Background music is laced with it. Guys call women "b--ches" and they take pride in thinking up obscenely creative ways to refer to sex and sexual anatomy. God's name is coupled with the word "d--n."

drug and alcohol content: What are sex and vulgarity on spring break without alcohol? Rarely does a minute go by without some form of intoxicating liquid appearing onscreen. Jell-O shots. Body shots. Glasses. Pitchers. Bottles. It's omnipresent. When Alan declares he's never drank before and, indeed, never intends to, his new friends chuckle over how sweet and quaint he is, then take him on as a pet project, laying down bets over how long it will be before he joins them. It's only a matter of hours. After he caves—and the cheering subsides—he quickly turns into the movie's star, monster partyer. "I've done a lot of things this week that I wouldn't have normally done," he says before the credits roll. "And if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing!" I should note that Alan is 18 years old (three years shy of legal drinking age in the U.S.) and most of his college-age pals aren't much older. As for tobacco, a girl smokes and a guy chews.

other negative elements: After urinating into a paper cup, a guy pours the liquid over a girl's jellyfish sting. There are lots of loud fights and arguments in "the house" over territory and sex.

conclusion: The Real Cancun is brought to us by the producers of MTV's The Real World. So it comes across like a way-too-long TV episode 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. Sin for a season does have its pleasures, but even Dr. Drew Pinsky, longtime MTV sexpert and current co-host of the syndicated radio program Loveline, acknowledges how dangerous these kinds of images and impressions can be for teens. "The problem is that the media don't portray things in their realistic complexity," he recently explained. "TV [and in this case, The Real Cancun] is afraid that somehow reality will crash through and be un-entertaining. So [it] romanticizes and glorifies spring break, rather than showing the real human consequences of things like unwanted sexual encounters, unintended pregnancies or drunken driving." And while I am loath to allow Dr. Drew the last word, there's really nothing else to be said. Consider The Real Cancun the equivalent of a serious case of alcohol poisoning.

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Alan, Amber, Ben, Brittany, Casey, David, Heidi, Jeremy, Jorell, Laura, Matt, Nicole, Paul, Roxanne, Sarah and Sky as Themselves; musical appearances by Snoop Dogg, Simple Plan and Hot Action Cop


Rick de Oliveira ( )


New Line Cinema



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Steven Isaac

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