Craig's First Take: "Crystal Fairy"

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As Jamie travels in Chile, he invites an eccentric woman to join his group's quest to score a fabled hallucinogen, a move that finds him at odds with his new companion, until they drink the magic brew on a beach at the edge of the desert.
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Remember when Michael Cera only used to play skittish nerds? Well he seems to be moving on but now he’s only playing drug-addled jerks. Only where “This is the End” was a fantastic stunt, his role in “Crystal Fairy” is less fun, and you wonder why Chilean director Sebastian Silva, well known for winning the international film award at Sundance-2009 for “The Maid”, really thought this thing was enough to hold interest despite the fact that there is so little going on.

Cera plays Jamie, an American vacationing Chile. He has three friends down there, the film makes no reference to how he knows them but then again Jamie doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who cares much about people. The only reason he’s made the trip in the first place is to acquire some San Pedro, which is a drink you can make from a cactus that has psychedelic tendencies apparently.

One night at a party thrown by one of the friends, the coke and weed fueled- Jamie feels the need to talk to a “dancing tornado” of an American woman who calls herself Crystal Fairy (former child star Gabby Hoffman). This party sequence is full of pounding music and roving camera and it’s hard to tell what’s happening but the next day, when Jamie and his friends begin their road trip journey to find the cactus, he learns, to his chagrin, that he has actually invited Crystal along for the ride.

Crystal, we learn, is a vegetarian hippie who feels the need to spread the word about the dangers of sugars and the importance of ingesting essences, while being free with her hairy body.

Jamie is a hyperactive twit who I sympathized with every time he would talk trash about her behind her back (“Hairy Fairy”). She’s horribly annoying, but the thing is, so is he. They both coast through aimless movie trying to find a cactus, then when they finally get this drink cooking, they all hallucinate, freak-out, and futz around and that too just feels annoying. So everything in this movie that Silva thinks is a laugh riot, is actually just really irritating.

There is something for the communal aspect of drug taking---the sharing of fears and past tragedies—but these darker tonal shifts don’t make for a better movie, just a bland one that ends depressingly.