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2006, Unrated

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When documentary filmmakers Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro began following the pitch sessions of a couple of on-the-cusp television writers, it seems they had no idea that these two would find themselves on a tragic odyssey of epic proportions in the reality television realm. The soul-grinding experience of constantly selling half-conceived ideas reaches critical mass when a shady porn promoter latches on to an outlandish pitch from the writers and starts a production that marries Survivor elements with cannibalism. Ironically, this combination gives the sense that the lack of creativity actually forces those in the lower levels of the industry to eat themselves in order to get ahead. Grebin and Nigro went on a fishing expedition of sorts and walked away with a huge catch here, but like the reality television genre they’re tracking, they mistake how narratives need to be completed for the audience to gain full satisfaction. American Cannibal and its series of bonus interviews offers a unique insider’s view into a sign of the times true story, but fail to concoct an ending worthy of its near mythic contemporary tragedy. (tt stern-enzi) Grade: B-