Review: Crystal Fairy
Note: This review originally ran as part of our Sundance coverage in January.
PLOT: Jamie (Michael Cera) is in Chile on a non-stop drug binge, with the ultimate goal of trying a shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro Cactus. He takes a road-trip with his Chilean roommate and his two brothers, with the goal of buying this elusive cactus and taking it on the beach. However, the night before they leave, Jamie- in the midst of a coke binge, invites another American tourist, an eccentric young lady who calls herself the Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann). When she joins them, her and Jamie immediately lock horns- a situation made even worse once they finally get their hands on the San Pedro cactus.
REVIEW: CRYSTAL FAIRY is one of two Chilean movies- directed by Sebastian Silva, and starring Michael Cera to play this year's edition of the Sundance Film Festival- with the second, MAGIC, MAGIC due to premiere sometime next week. CRYSTAL FAIRY starts off not all that different from your average, run-of-the-mill Michael Cera comedy, albeit a seriously R-rated variation, with the former George Michael/Scott Pilgrim doing an ungodly amount of cocaine, and picking up a couple of transsexual hookers (but only to cook rice for them- natch) within the first ten minutes. I don't consider that a bad thing, as I'm an unapologetic fan of the guy- especially when it comes to ARRESTED: DEVELOPMENT (although the less said about PAPER HEARTS the better).
Indeed, the whole first half of CRYSTAL FAIRY borders of being uncontrollably hilarious- especially once the titular character is introduced. I remember Gaby Hoffmann from the run of movies she did as a child star in the nineties, so it was a shock to the system to see her as the free-spirited Crystal, who frequently walks around completely naked- au natural (meaning, unshaved in all regards- yikes). She's very funny in a part that could have been insufferable, and her anti-chemistry with Cera is pitch-perfect.
Cera's mounting frustration with his unwanted guest is very funny, especially his reaction to her walking around naked . His character Jamie, is kind of like what George Michael would be if he spent a few years away from the Bluths doing drugs, and becoming an asshole. He's very funny throughout. I also really liked his three Chilean co-stars, all of whom I believe are related to director Silva- Juan Andres Silva, Jose Miguel Silva, and Augustin Silva- who play his more patient road trip companions. Too bad then that CRYSTAL FAIRY overstays it's welcome a tad. Once our five characters actually get their hands on the San Pedro cactus, and take their mescaline trip, the film becomes a bit of an ordeal. Sure, Cera is funny to watch stoned, but that wears off pretty quick. Ever spend an extended amount of time hanging out with a friend who's completely stoned, while you're stone-cold sober? Yeah- that's kinda what CRYSTAL FAIRY becomes in it's last half hour. It all culminates in a surprisingly somber confession by Crystal Fairy in a scene that's without a doubt, powerfully acted by Hoffman, but is a bit of a downer in a film that had previously been pretty light- although it ends on an appropriately soothing note.
All in all, I'm glad I took in CRYTAL FAIRY, as for at least forty minutes of the movie I was wildly entertained. It's certainly good enough that I'll check out the second Silva-Cera collaboration, MAGIC, MAGIC- although I hope it's more consistent. Still, CRYTAL FAIRY is worth watching for a few laughs, and if in the right “frame of mind” (after ingesting the right substance)- it might be somewhat more profound.