Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Before 'Jersey Shore,' there was 'Real Cancun'

Posted on

Before we got to know Snooki and The Situation, there was Casey and the Twins. I’m talking, of course, of the monumental film experiment The Real Cancun, which hit the big screen in 2003 and was billed as the “first reality feature film.” When I saw it, I was convinced that this was this was the trashy, fun future of filmed entertainment — but I was oh-so-wrong: it  kinda tanked at the box-office. Later that year, some friends and I kept the legacy alive by screening the film at a Real Cancun theme party (bad spring break T-shirts and lots of tequila were involved).

The high-concept premise from Bunim/Murray Productions (the film is otherwise unrelated to the later TV series The Real World: Cancun):  A bunch of college students (and one-non-college-age-aspiring model who never grew up) head to spring break to do body shots and hook up. A few goody-two-shoes are invited to be corrupted.

I can’t help drawing comparisons between The Real Cancun and the recent cultural touchstone The Jersey Shore — I think Cancun is even more over-the-top, thanks to its Girls-Gone-Wild aspirations and R-rating (was there ever any doubt the twins would get topless during a wet T-shirt contest?). There was even more stupidity and hooking-up than on The Jersey Shore. There’s one pretty boy in this film, not even clever enough to nickname his abs, who just walks around asking any girl he meets: “Wanna make out?” (Spoiler alert: It sometimes works!)


My friend, film critic Michael Tully, has boldly praised the film, and now has curated The Real Cancun as part of Hammer To Nail’s “Misunderstood Gems” film series. If you’re in New York City, forget the snow and have early spring break with this “messterpiece” tonight at 8 p.m. at 92Y Tribeca. And if you’re not in New York, you can still reflect fondly about the magic of The Real Cancun with the trailer. 

Was anyone else a secret fan of this film? Wanna make out?