Sundown DVD Review

  • Actors: Camilla Belle, Sara Paxton, Teri Hatcher, Devon Werkheiser, Sean Marquette
  • Director: Fernando Lebrija
  • Disc Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2016
  • Run Time: 102 minutes

        Sundown has all of the expected elements of a teen sex comedy without any of the creativity or good will that may have been its saving grace. Instead, all we are left with are a series of clichĂ© situations, derivative plot twists, and atrocious stereotyping for nearly every character involved. Women exist in the narrative primarily to be ogled and/or saved, and nearly every ethnic character in the Puerto Vallarta setting seems to fall into one of Trump’s categorizations of Mexicans. All of this may have been slightly more excusable if there were anything remotely sexy or funny about this sex comedy.

        The film follows generic teen friends Logan (Devon Werkheiser) and Blake (Sean Marquette) on an impromptu spring break in Mexico after their original plans fall through. Logan has a crush on a popular girl at his school (Sara Paxton), despite knowing nothing about her personality that he hasn’t learned by leering from afar. Paxton’s involvement in this film is puzzling, as her character provides little more than the occasional eye candy. The character of Blake provides the opposite side of this dynamic, the slightly-chubby sidekick seeming to exist for the mere purpose of spouting derogatory language at scantily clad females with every opportunity.

        Despite Logan’s obtusely sincere infatuation, the bland protagonist finds himself in bed with a local prostitute named Gaby (Camilla Belle), who steals his father’s borrowed Rolex watch as payment. The plot very quickly begins to resemble Risky Business across the border, without any of the charm or narrative competence. Logan is forced to team up with Gaby, who is unsurprisingly looking for a way to escape her ruthless pimp (Jordi Mollá), in order to retrieve the watch and return home before his parents realize he was gone.

        Even though much of Sundown feels like an attempt to advertise Puerto Vallarta as a hip vacation destination for EDM-loving party teens, the depiction of actual Mexicans is horribly inaccurate. Forgiving the existence of prostitutes and pimps as primarily local characters, the casting of Belle as a Mexican is an atrocious decision. The young American actress uses a forced Mexican accent which is so ineffective that I was convinced her character would admit to lying about her nationality up to the moment the credits began to roll. The one wise casting choice was the inclusion of actual Mexican actor, Silverio Palacios, even though his amiable character is basically just a thieving cab driver taking advantage of the stupid foreigners.

        To top off the idiocy of Sundown is an EDM subplot in which Logan uses his abilities as a DJ to win over both of the love interests in the narrative. This basically just feels like pandering to the current popular trends of teens, going so far as to include cameos from some real-life DJs. Anyone willing to watch this garbage simply because Steve Aoki shows up on screen for a few minutes deserves the stench. It took several years of post-production and even some re-shoots before Sundown whimpered out onto DVD, and much of the cast should simply hope that it is forgotten in much less time.

        The DVD release comes with a Digital HD copy of the film, for those who want it. The disc special features include a handful of deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes featurette. All I wanted was an interview with the casting director, Mexican filmmaker Fernando Lebrija, or anyone else who could explain the logic of Camilla Belle’s awful accent.   

Entertainment Value: 4.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10
Historical Significance:  0/10
Special Features: 3/10

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