American Cannibal: The Road to Reality
NEW YORK -- Reality television is painful enough to watch at home, let alone on the big screen, but directors Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro somehow didn't get the message. "American Cannibal: The Road to Reality," their dubious documentary chronicling the efforts of two would-be reality-show auteurs to pitch their wares, is not likely to attract viewers used to getting their fix in their own living rooms.
At first, Dave Roberts and Gil S. Ripley are seen trying to get producers interested in their new hot concept, "Virgin Territories," in which 10 male virgins compete to see who can stay that way the longest despite a barrage of artificial temptations. The prize: losing their virginity to an actual porn star.
Surprisingly, they have trouble attracting interest, save for the attention of Kevin Blatt, the promoter behind the infamous Paris Hilton sex tape. But ultimately even Blatt passes, instead warming to another idea proposed by the duo: "The Ultimate Ultimate Challenge," a sort of "Survivor" knock-off with the twist that the contestants stranded on a remote island might ultimately be forced into cannibalism. The show eventually is put into production, with disastrous results.
The filmmakers add plenty of realistic touches to the proceedings, including interviews with such figures as Linda Stasi, TV critic at the New York Post, and Lizz Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart". And seen hosting the reality show, also dubbed "Starvation Island," is George Gray of "The Weakest Link."
But the film is clearly a put-on, though how much was scripted and how much is the result of manipulation is unclear. (One sly clue is the Godard film poster that goes crashing to the floor at an inopportune moment.) In either case, the results onscreen are sheer boredom. When it comes to the absurdities of reality TV, the real thing needs no embellishment.