American Cannibal: The Road to Reality (2006)



Critic Consensus: American Cannibal is a scathing, funny exploration of America's obsession with constructed realism and fame.

American Cannibal: The Road to Reality Photos

Movie Info

Originally conceived as an instructional video on how to conduct pitch meetings, American Cannibal: The Road to Reality gradually evolved into something far darker. Documentary filmmakers Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro follow aspiring TV writers Gil S. Ripley and Dave Roberts as their failed Comedy Central pilot leads them to try their hand at reality TV. They start out pitching a show about N.Y.C. firefighter trainees at Randall's Island, but eventually decide that they have to push the envelope and come up with something that has more of an edge. They wind up at the office of Kevin Blatt, best known for marketing the Paris Hilton sex tapes, and pitching a show called "Virgin Territory," in which several male contestants, all virgins, compete for the opportunity to lose their virginity to a porn star. Blatt responds positively, but upon reflection, he prefers an idea that Ripley mentioned in passing, pretty much as a joke, for a show called "American Cannibal," wherein contestants would be put on a remote island and deprived of food to the point of starvation, presumably to see which of them would be willing to resort to cannibalism. Ripley and Roberts have qualms about it, but it's Blatt's money, so they begin developing the show, with disastrous results. Grebin and Nigro intercut this narrative with interviews with reality show veterans like Dr. Richard Levak, Jon Murray, and The Daily Show's Lizz Winstead, who discuss the phenomenon of reality TV. The filmmakers appear to be blurring the line between reality and fiction, and rumors have circulated as to the authenticity of their story. American Cannibal: The Road to Reality had its world premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, in the NY, NY Documentary Competition.
Documentary , Special Interest , Television
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Critic Reviews for American Cannibal: The Road to Reality

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (12)

The real savagery is in the satire, coldly measuring the lengths to which contestants might go and the depths to which the protagonists sink.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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.

April 16, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

American Cannibal is ostensibly about the phony, exploitative nature of reality TV, and though documentarians Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro hit that point too hard by piling up interviews with TV experts who speak in exaggerated cautionary tones,

April 5, 2007
AV Club
Top Critic

To the film's credit, it's finally a whistle-blower on unsafe shooting practices, not unsafe dining habits.

Full Review… | March 16, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Until everything collapses, and the filmmakers are left grasping at straws, it's absorbing in a sick way.

March 16, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

What's here is a glimpse not into how far people will go to win a reality-TV show, but how far greedy writers and producers will go to degrade, debauch and enrich themselves.

Full Review… | March 16, 2007
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for American Cannibal: The Road to Reality

Interesting knowing that it was going to eventually fall apart. Who doesn't like to watch a train wreck happen?! It was alright.

Dee Loren
Dee Loren

surprisingly good doc. like everyone else...i have no clue which parts are real and which were staged. i'm totally kind of freaked out about that girl though. nothing is ever really said...i mean, is she even alive? but anyway, yeah it was a great look into pitching idea after idea and how draining it is...just to have someone use an idea of yours, thats not even what you want. then have it spiral down to nothing. it was almost like they were being forced to sell out into reality tv and the whole time they hated themselves for it.

Dean Datre
Dean Datre

Somewhat interesting story of two writers trying to get a reality television show off the ground, but it somehow falters the further into the film you get. I'm not sure what we're supposed to glean from the ending of the film, as the shows' production is plagued from the start, but it was an interesting way to wast an hour and a half. Give it a look on cable, like I did.

Bill Bryant
Bill Bryant

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