‘Crystal Fairy,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


I know people for whom watching Michael Cera act in anything is akin to nails on a blackboard – or even bamboo splinters under those fingernails. He’s the contraindication of an enjoyable film.

For me, “Crystal Fairy” is further proof that Cera has a lot more range (and daring) than haters give him credit for. What’s interesting is that “Crystal Fairy” is, in a way, about that: dealing with someone who bugs the living crap out of you for no particular reason other than the fact that they’re drawing breath in your vicinity.

Written and directed by Sebastian Silva, “Crystal Fairy” is a witty riff on the ugly American, with Cera as Jamie, an oblivious Yank vacationing in Chile. He’s hanging with some new friends, who take him to a party. His goal: a road trip the next day to a little town near the ocean to score the mystical San Pedro cactus, supposedly a hallucinogen.

At the party, he spots a woman who seems in her own world: dancing cluelessly in a way that seems to obstruct and interfere with others. He chats her up; her name, she says, is Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) and she seems like a throwback to another era, a hippie caught in the wrong time period.

Jamie is pretty drunk and casually invites Crystal Fairy (no one ever calls her just Crystal) along on the road trip to seek the mysterious cactus. The next morning, however, he can’t believe that a) he really invited her or that b) she actually accepted. He seems to be treating the road trip as a holy ritual of self-discovery, despite the fact that he’s as obtusely unself-aware as they come.

This review continues on my website.

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