Movie review: 'Crystal Fairy' a trippy journey in the desert

Published August 8, 2013 3:24 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Like any road trip, Sebastian Silva's "Crystal Fairy" (actually, the full title is "Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012") is only as good as the traveling companions.

Here, it's an uneven mix: Jamie (Michael Cera), an American tourist in Chile obsessed with tripping out on a native hallucinogenic cactus, who meets a hippie wild child with Frida Kahlo eyebrows who calls herself Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann). Jamie impulsively invites Crystal along for a ride with three Chilean friends (played Juan Andrés, José Miguel and Agustín Silva, the director's brothers). But Jamie's single-minded interest in getting high clashes with Crystal's desire to enjoy the experience.

Cera once again tries to shake off his mild-mannered persona, but his one-note performance becomes grating. The pleasant surprise here is Hoffmann. The former child actress ("Sleepless in Seattle") captures the spiritual yearning of this offbeat character as she walks, sometimes naked, through the desert.

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'Crystal Fairy'

Opens Friday, Aug. 9, at the Tower Theatre; not rated, but probably R for explicit nudity, drug use and language; partly in Spanish with subtitles; 98 minutes.