As an audience member “Crystal Fairy” feels like you’ve arrived at the frat party a few hours too late. You’re sober, everyone else is drunk and the most interesting thing that is going to happen will be watching your friends stagger around until the fighting or crying starts.
Michael Cera plays against the meek nerd character he’s established in movies like “Juno,” “Superbad” and on television in “Arrested Development.” Here he plays Jamie, an aggressive American in Chile with a group of friends (played by director Sebastián Silva and his real life brothers) on a Hunter S. Thompson style quest for a local shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro Cactus. The road trip to the ultimate drug trip isn’t easy going, however. The tightly wound Jamie’s pushy behavior is harshing their vibe and when he inadvertently invites uber-hippie Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) along for the ride, the journey turns into a long, strange trip indeed.
Plotless and idea driven rather than motivated by story, “Crystal Fairy” coasts along on the charm of Cera and Hoffman. Both hand in memorable, hard-to-forget performances, but the movie meanders so much—which I guess is to be expected from a psychotropic road movie—that the truly interesting and revealing character moments get washed away by the tedium of the scenes that surround them.