Joel Siegel Movie Reviews

ByJoel Siegel

April 25, 2003 -- Now in theaters: The Real Cancun, People I Know,Confidence, and It Runs in the Family.

The Real Cancun Just when reality TV has run out of gas, here comes Hollywood to rip off the radio and steal the hubcaps. The Real Cancun promises things they don't show on television and doesn't really deliver.

They ship 16 kids (15 of them under 21) to Mexico for Spring Break. Rent out a hotel. Tape 'em night and day. What's incredible is that in just four weeks they turned it around, edited 500 hours of high-definition video into a 97-minute movie.

The movie looks good. But I kept thinking about the poor guys who had to watch the other 498 ½ hours of this stuff. If the stuff they used gets boring, imagine what the rest of it was like.

The results? Cancun is beautiful, but uninteresting . It will shock parents and disappoint younger viewers.

Most of people in this film have just barely reached legal age. Should a company be sending them on a vacation to Mexico and encouraging them to have sex and drink as much as they can? But aside from the morality, the dialogue is just plain dull. Even the sex is an rip-off. It happens under the sheets. The Real Cancun is too real for parents, not real enough for kids. Grade: D.

People I Know

In the Sweet Smell of Success, Tony Curtis created the quintessential press agent who will do anything to get his client some publicity. In Phone Booth, Colin Farrell plays the same guy grown up. Now, Al Pacino plays him grown old and tired, reeking of perspiration and desperation in People I Know.

Ryan O'Neal is perfect as the movie star who's Pacino's lone client. Post-Sept. 11, the script loses some punch. But Pacino, who's playing a person I know, proves one more time he's one of film's finest actors. Grade: B.


In Confidence, a Sundance smash, Edward Burns plays a con man with style who steals millions. But Dustin Hoffman steals the film. He's having so much fun, call the Centers for Disease Control, it's contagious. Grade: B

It Runs in the Family

You'll see more than a family resemblance when 86-year-old Kirk Douglas piles into a fishing boat with son Michael and grandson Cameron.

"Shmuck!" Kirk calls Michael at one point in It Runs in the Family. Michael told me it was his father's one ad-lib in the movie — and that Kirk's been waiting years to call him that on screen.

It Runs in the Family plays like it was written for the Douglas family, though it wasn't. It's a labor of love. Talk about a family business, the part of Michael Douglas' mom is played by his real mother, Diana Douglas. In the film, she and Kirk have been married 60 years. In real life, they've been divorced 50 years. (But they're still friends.)

The movie was filmed after Kirk Douglas' stroke. Someone asked him if he's had trouble finding work. "No," he said. "If they're looking for an old man with slurred speech, I've got a monopoly."

It makes you laugh, makes you cry, what more can you want from a movie? Grade: B+

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