Films of the decade: "The Real Cancun"

No, I'm not kidding: The "reality film" shot while the U.S. bombed Baghdad is disturbing, relevant history

By Michael Tully
December 15, 2009 5:01PM (UTC)
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A still from "The Real Cancun"

No, I'm not kidding. Seemingly inspired by the breakout success of "Jackass: The Movie," the producers of the long-running MTV reality show "The Real World" decided to test out their formula in a multiplex environment with "The Real Cancun," a jaw-dropping spectacle of American youth gone preposterously idiotic. The fact that "The Real Cancun" was shot in only 10 days during March of 2003, concurrent with our country's invasion of Iraq, makes it one of the more unintentionally brilliant statements of hypocrisy of the decade. That it was released in theaters only five weeks later makes it a legitimate poster child for the burgeoning digital revolution of the early 21st century. As a sloppy assemblage of spoiled, attractive young party animals gather to do body shots, dance and make out like horny banhees and banshees, all hope for the future is tossed away like an empty bottle of Cuervo.

Truth be told, I had planned to stay very far away from "The Real Cancun" based on the advertising, but a friend highly recommended it after attending a sneak preview. She was right. I saw "The Real Cancun" three times in the theater, bringing different friends every time. Most good movies have three or four moments that make you say "Wow." By my count, "The Real Cancun" has 24. While I certainly wouldn't consider it one of the best films of the decade -- or the worst, for that matter -- I firmly believe it belongs in the canon. "The Real Cancun" is a disturbingly relevant historical document.


Film Salon has invited a group of special guests to write about their favorite film(s) of the 2000s. To read the entire series, go here.

Michael Tully

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