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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Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind.
Jamie (Cera) is a boorish, insensitive American twentysomething traveling in Chile, who somehow manages to create chaos at every turn. He and his friends are planning on taking a road trip north to experience a legendary shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro cactus. In a fit of drunkenness at a wild party, Jamie invites an eccentric woman -- a radical spirit named Crystal Fairy (Hoffmann) -- to come along. What is meant to be a devil-may-care journey becomes a battle of wills as Jamie finds himself locking horns with his new traveling companion. But on a remote, pristine beach at the edge of the desert, the magic brew is finally imbibed, and the true adventure begins. Written by
Michael Cera goes a long way toward changing his lovable doofus image in this road trip movie with a laid back and ultimately rather sweet vibe.
Cera plays an obnoxious American vacationing in Chile who's trying to chase down a special kind of cactus that has mind-altering capabilities when the juice is distilled and drunk. Along for the ride are three native Chilean brothers and another American, a hippie-dippie girl named Crystal Fairy. The Chileans are quiet, polite and tolerant while the Americans are both unpleasant, Cera because he's a jerk and Crystal Fairy because she tries too hard. If this had stayed yet another Americans-behaving-badly movie I wouldn't have liked it. But it goes a very different, and welcome, direction, as the group's time together causes defenses to be relaxed and vulnerabilities to emerge.
"Crystal Fairy" does a great job of capturing that unique dynamic that evolves when a random assortment of people spend a lot of time together on a road trip. The characters created by Cera and Gaby Hoffman (who plays Crystal Fairy) certainly aren't pleasant to spend time with for much of the film's running time, but they're so like people I've actually known that it's fascinating to watch their performances and how thoroughly they can create characters that feel so authentic.
I was already won over by the film's casual, relaxed atmosphere by the time the last few scenes came around, and then, after a late-act revelation and the sensitive way in which the film handles it, decided that I had sort of fallen in love with it.
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