Friday, July 19, 2013

Crystal Fairy Movie Review

Gaby Hoffman & Michael Cera (r) star in Crystal Fairy

Welcome to the Group, Hairy Fairy

The actual quote is "Welcome to the Group, Crystal Fairy," but you'll understand my meaning halfway through Sebasti├ín Silva's Crystal Fairy, a surprisingly appealing adventure-comedy starring Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffman as two young Americans whose decidedly different paths cross, while on holiday in Chile. It's earnestly genuine, and while far from revolutionary, provides a soulful glance into what makes some of us tick.

IMDb Plot: 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.

What’s Best: Either you like road trip movies or you don't... but what's not to like about Jamie and the Silva brothers' priceless reaction to a casually nude Crystal Fairy and her... grooming practices? Jamie's insecurities... and perhaps the most non-athletic march into the ocean, ever recorded on film are funny to watch. Jamie's fellow travelers (with the exception of Crystal, of course) play it safe... allowing Cera and Hoffman's characters to "run the show." Thankfully (and with Silva's artful direction) they're up to the task. It's not always charming, but I couldn't help but enjoy myself.

P.S. Kudos to Cera and particularly Hoffman for baring most (and all) of themselves for everyone to see. If you think that doesn't take guts, you don't know what bravery is.

What’s Not: Jamie's negativity gets so bad, that you half-expect his fellow travelers to ditch him, instead of Crystal. This, despite (or because of) Jamie's suggestion to leave her at a bus stop or a hostel. Outside of likable Cera's portrayal, it's hard to imagine anyone standing for Jamie's insufferable antics and selfish behavior (all in the name of taking drugs for the sake of... taking drugs, and nothing else.) That said, all that arrogance and insecurity pays off with several hilarious moments (i.e. offering to cook a rice dinner to two tranny hookers, much to the dismay of his Chilean roommate.)

Best Line: Crystal urges her companions to communicate, 'It's either that or an orgy, and I don't think you boys are ready for that.' Isn't that the understatement of the year! Also good, one of several odd exchanges between Crystal and Jamie, the boy wonder - 'Jamie, I've been here before,' to which Jamie replies, 'When?' Crystal answers, 'Exactly!' Quirky and strangely delightful, it got big laughs at our screener.

Overall: Crystal Fairy takes a turn for the bizarre before "shutting off" with a rather bad ending. Before that, Silva (The Maid) creates an enjoyable (albeit quirky) trip in search of nothing in particular with five rather average (albeit quirky) people. It's not necessarily deep (discussing the merits of having a midget follow you around for the remainder of your life, or to have shit drip out of your ear drum for the same amount of time) but it contains at least a dozen laugh-out-loud moments that make this trip worth taking (at least from a distance.)