The Real Cancun
[Editors' Note: The following is an excerpt from "Go Ask Ebert: The Diary of an Anonymous Bad-Movie Addict", due to be released to bookstores everywhere this November. We present this text unvarnished and unedited so that you may see and understand the horrors of this wicked addiction. This is not a sight for the weak-hearted, but it is a pressing and important issue. We thank you for your time.
Oct. 2, 2003 --
Woke up jonesing. I've been trying to resist it lately -- only renting classics, avoiding my bad-movie friends, listening to music more often -- but today I had to score. The monster in my belly would not rest until it was fed some crap. I had an emergency film ready for the occasion, a cheeseball alien-slasher flick called "It Came". So I put that on, but halfway through I realized that it just wasn't doing it for me. It wasn't bad so much as just lame. Thus, I was forced into the street, trying to hustle up enough spare change to rent something of titanic awfulness. Lucked out, I guess... as I was standing in the park, a kung-fu-junkie I know walked up to me and said, "Man, you look awful. Here, take this. It's not to my taste, but maybe it'll get YOU high."
And into my shivering hands he pressed a DVD of "The Real Cancun".
I'd heard about this film, and frankly it didn't interest me much. Reality television doesn't get me off like a good zombie film does. But I was in a bad way. I needed a fix. And this unwrapped disc was my only chance to shake my DT's. So instead of protesting, I mumbled a thank you and scurried home, tearing at the plastic as I went.
My hands trembled as I inserted the disc into my DVD player. I thought to myself, well, Richard Roeper liked it. And everybody knows that if it gets Roeper's seal of approval, it's probably terrible. Terrible is good. We like terrible. Not five minutes later, I realized that I was in for one long, bad trip.
The film opens with interviews of the kids who'll be jetting off to Mexico, and the first thing I noticed is that none of these people are interesting. Not in the least. The second thing I noticed is that there's way too many kids -- sixteen of 'em, I think. Now how exactly is a film is expected to tell the tale of sixteen different people interacting with each other and their environment in the span of 90 minutes? That's right -- it's not. A lot of these kids could have been left home, which would have made for a more interesting movie. Still, I attempted to search for an identification figure among the morass of interchangeable horndogs. The way the film is edited, it appears the filmmakers wanted us to identify with Alan, the nice-guy-turned-drunken-party-animal. But I knew exactly where his character arc (and I do call it a character arc, since I don't buy for a minute that Hedonism Boy was ever in actuality a shrinking violet) was headed and it didn't interest me. No, it turns out the only guy I liked was Jorell, the larger of the two black guys. He stood as a voice of sanity in the midst of the hormonal chaos -- which naturally meant that he got as little screentime as possible. Really, he was only on camera when he was either tolerating Alan's poor-me whining or bearing witness to his best friend's sad-ass attempts to score with Token Black Chick. So, I'm stuck with fifteen jerks and one interesting guy. Bad ratio.
But okay, so it's not Quality Entertainment. I knew that. That's what I wanted, right? A bad movie? Aargh.... that's the problem. This isn't an endearingly bad movie. It's not entertainingly sleazy, despite what the ad campaigns want you to believe. It's not "Blood Diner" or "Nude for Satan" or "Zombie Lake" or anything like that. No, this is film is bad as in obnoxious-pushy-annoying bad. I sincerely believe my kung-fu-friend was trying to slip me a hotshot with this beastly thing. For starters, the sex/nudity quotient is far lower than you'd expect. There's a wet T-shirt contest that comprises the entirety of the film's breast content, and the sex is limited to furtive under-the-covers rutting -- hardly what you'd call Grade-A titillation. The human drama element is almost completely missing, save for a couple spats involving one person's amorous expectations on another person -- and that junk doesn't really pop up until the end. Pretty much anything that is supposed to "develop the characters" is insufferable; I can't decide whether the nadir is Token Black Chick's arrogant insistence that she is a "mystery
" or Lame-Ass John-Mayer-Wannabe Guitar Boy's clueless (and tuneless) ode to the '80s as "the best decade ever". And that 90 minutes... oh, that abbreviated runtime! Anything that could be interesting (i.e. Lame-Ass John-Mayer-Wannabe Guitar Boy and his Generic Female Platonic Friend's obvious sexual chemistry) gets edited into oblivion so that the filmmakers can include more shots of Alan doing body shots like someone who's done them before. I mean, I understand that trying to cram a week's worth of carousing into an hour and a half is a tall order. But the editor should be shot for this slaphappy mess. Sixteen kids, all horny, all stupid and all ready to be unleashed on a tourist town where you can legally purchase absinthe and hookers... and we get a "This Cuervo's for You" commercial with a dash of soap opera mixed in. Jesus. Not even an STD. What happened to the promised sleaze?
I guess this is what I get for being a junkie, but man... this is not happy trash -- this makes you feel like trash for watching it. It's a cheery ode to voyeur-culture gone insane. The only possible happy ending for this would have been Snoop Dogg spraying the crowd with gunfire during a performance of "Murder Was the Case" and managing to wipe out all these wastes of genetic material. I'm gonna hafta mainline a zombie flick to clean this toxic junk out of my blood -- in fact, I think I have "Shatter Dead" upstairs right now...