Say what ye will about the reality entertainment boom, one thing's for goldang certain, it's quick on the draw. Shooting wrapped March 23, 2003 and this study of springtime hedonism hit gigaplexes less than SIX WEEKS later. Month after that? Into my sweaty mitts! They barely even slowed long enough to decide what to call the sucker. First it was known affectionately around New Line as "Untitled Cancun Project." At the time of casting, literally days before jetting 16 horn'd up collegians to the Mexican Rivera, it was "Spring Break: The Movie." But MTV mainstays Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray must've dug what their 500 hours of footage had wrought during the marathon nine-day shoot, because they saw fit to christen the result "Real" a la "The Real World." Lest their hallowed TV institution's name be sullied.
Eight gals. Eight fellas. A slew of rooms -- each with its own hot tub -- at the palatial, yet circus-tent colored Avalon Baccara Hotel. Free-flowing hooch by the tanker load. Wet T-shirt contests where the tees are optional. Thongs that DON'T go on your feet. Ye gods! They've actually REBUILT those long smote'd cities of Sodom 'n' Gomorrah and used the remaining salt for tequila body shots!!! Sure it's easy to pass this neuvo sexploitation flick off as little more than a big-screen aping of "Girls Gone Wild." Nay, it's more than that.
What we've got here is a heartwarming tale of one young man's journey from bespectacled teetotaler to breast-obsessed party animal. Alan Taylor, or "Diet Pepsi" to his Cancun cronies, arrives determined to not "ruin my soberness," a disturbing concept akin to a bobbing Baby Ruth in the jacuzzi to fellow breakers who vow to guide Alan along his path toward iniquity. Jorell Washington and Paul Malbry serve as his main confidants, schooling shoegazing Alan on the soulful art of coed repartee. Compliments and faux confidence seem fleetingly fruitful until Mr. Taylor returns from the first night's clubbing only to realize the digits he'd scored don't add up. "Hi! Um, this is Alan." *CLICK!* But in that very hour of desperation blossoms a magical moment. In an after-school-special-esque example of peer pressure, bikini-clad honeys surround Alan and roughly two-point-three seconds later he's giddily down'd "just one" shot of booze. Precisely half a nanosecond after that, he's slurping salt off a roomie's cleavage and firmly planting both his skinny Texan dogs OFF the wagon! From there, it's "SHOW ME THE BOOBIES!!!," literally, as our mumbling wallflower learns to lock lips, slurp navels and THEN, perhaps, bother to ask a young lady's name. CineSchlockers just might find themselves dabbing a tear by the end of the flick when Alan's elected "Mr. Hot Body" by a jury of drunken females, including a doe-eyed French waif who adds international relations to his curriculum. *Sniff* They grow up so fast.
Meanwhile, the usual suspects also frolic. There's Nicole and Roxanne Frilot who claim to hate seeing each other nekkid, yet not unlike Pavlov's pooches, strip bare hiney within the first three notes of Nelly's "Hot In Herre." Chiseled, conversationally-challenged Jeremy "Jaz" Jazwinski claims he works out EXCLUSIVELY for spring break because girls come from all around the world "to find guys like me!" Naughty Miss Laura Ramsey's first in line, then stares daggers into each successive ankle dangler through his meticulously waxed turnstile. Not all the fellas are on the hunt, though. Or so they claim. Soul-patched Matt Slenske courts enhanced-but-previously-romanced Sarah Wilkins. Mr. Malbry is never beyond eyeshot of Marquita "Sky" Marshall's backside. Both ladies relish being drool worthy, though they don't share Ms. Ramsey's willingness to do business. Will Paul and Matt resist a nightly bevy of temptresses or keep their peepers on the prize? How you say, "Whereo los rubberos?"
Though unfairly vilified amid understandable "reality" backlash, this salacious romp is a titillatingly taut excursion at just 90 minutes with appreciable wit and, gulp, even charm amid its jiggling catalog of sins. Risking sacrilege, in time, this slice of docutainment may well prove itself a generational snapshot within a shade of such seminal cinema as Woodstock.
14 breasts. Gratuitous male-model posturing. Lesbian tongue rasslin. Hiney smacking. Diddle cam. Nightclub pyrotechnics. Gratuitous urination as a topical ointment. Dolphin cavorting. Gratuitous wangdoodle talk. Witty crooning. Gratuitous Snoop Dogg tuneage. Late-night philosophizing. Unsanctioned usage of whipped cream. Bungie jumping. Gratuitous "Female Body Inspector" T-shirts. Evidence of Alan's singleness of mind, "I just want to see some boobies. / Hooters! I want HOOTERS!!! / You know what I deserve? Some boobies. I want some TITTIES!!!" Spicoli-ish Casey Weeks is no urban cowboy, "Yo! my horse is f@#%ed up or something!" He ain't a physician either, "I got hair on my finger!" Gotta measure up to fly with Sky, "If you've got a little d@#&, my favorite position is with another mother f@$%er!" This coed isn't ready for her first of 12 steps, "There's no such thing as too drunk."
What? No commentaries? Perhaps the Bunim-Murray team aren't THAT proud after all. Although yours truly has a sinking suspicion a digital double-dip may be ahead as the screener provided for review was marked "regular." Though it hardly seems necessary given the tidy array of tasty extras that ARE provided. There's nearly a half hour of "Real World"-style confessional segments in which most of the cast expound on nefarious doings such as Nicole and Paul's shower show 'n' tell or Sarah's implant-related musings. Six deleted scenes include voyeuristic night-vision footage that seems to indicate Alan actually got lucky in the carnal sense, David Ingber's zany "STD" song and, best of all, a second wet T-shirt contest featuring far more of DVD covergirl Brittnay Brown-Hart than seen in the flick. Finally, kudos to designer Mike Quinn for sensitively capturing the film's essence by nuzzling the menu options betwixt pert American breasts. (2003, 97 mins, 1.85:1 anam, DD 5.1 & 2.0, Cast Q&As, Deleted scenes, Premiere coverage, Trailers.)
G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.