Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012 Blu-ray Review
Michael Cera has a certain acting style that some don’t care for. He has a halting delivery that can be endearing or maddening. I’ve always been a fan of his ever since “Arrested Development” hit the air ten years ago. Cera has made a career of being the good guy or a guy who’s perceived to be good. It’s been a nice niche for him, but it has been limiting. CRYSTAL FAIRY & THE MAGICAL CACTUS AND 2012 is one of his best acting roles to date. He actually stretches his acting muscles in a film that I didn’t care for that much.
I say he stretches for the movie because he plays a world class jerk and his speech pattern isn’t as deliberate. He plays an American named Jamie who lives in Chile. This is a guy who thinks he is smart and knows everything. If you aren’t his friend, you really don’t want to be around him. We see Jamie at a party as he assesses the situation through his eyes. He snorts cocaine and does some pot. Jamie attempts to be witty by bringing up the book, “The Doors of Perception” by Aldous Huxley which in turn was inspired by a phrase in a William Blake poem. Jim Morrison made these works more famous by naming the group after it. Like Jim before him, Jamie is on a trip of self discovery by way of drugs. He wants to open his mind to things and the possibilities they present. The way Jamie is going to accomplish this is by drinking the chemicals from a certain cactus. These chemicals are known to produce hallucinogenic effects.
At this same party, Jamie meets a girl named Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffman) who was clearly born in the wrong decade. She would have been more comfortable in the flower power era of the 60’s. Crystal dances like she is possessed and doesn’t really care what people think. Jamie has to tell her that she is embarrassing herself with her movements. It’s a jerk move that is consistent with his character. She though seems drawn to him by his blunt honesty. In his haze, Jamie gives Crystal his number and tells her that she should meet up with him later.
The next day Jamie meets up with three brothers and they take off on their quest for these magical cacti and the beach to partake in its powers. Jamie is in for a rude awakening when Crystal calls him and tells him she’s at the square where they agreed to meet. This sets up the conflict between Jamie and Crystal. Crystal is more of a go with the flow type of girl, while Jamie has always envisioned his drug quest a certain way and she was not in the plans. It is an interesting dynamic which does keep your interest somewhat.
Director/Screenwriter Sebastian Silva has stated he crafted this tale from a real experience. He cast his real life brothers in the role of the brothers. So they didn’t have to act too much there. I must admit that I am not a fan of these types of movies where drugs lead to self discovery. It bores me and this one just rambled on and on. Cera and Hoffman are the only things that kept me watching. Both actors are fearless in this work. Cera is fearless for being a character that is so loathsome and hard to like. Hoffman had to be brave by taking on several full frontal nude scenes that aren’t for the faint at heart. There is also a genuine spirit in Hoffman’s performance that she brings to Crystal. You see the connection.
When the five reach the beach, I felt a relief that this ordeal was almost over. While the acting by the two leads was enjoyable, the story itself was quite boring and tedious to watch. Each person deals with the magical cactus in their own way. One revelation near the end comes out of the blue and doesn’t seem to fit with the narrative.
CRYSTAL FAIRY & THE MAGICAL CACTUS AND 2012 bored me to tears. It is redeemed by the fine acting of Cera and Hoffman.
Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012 BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The transfer isn’t bad visually. The nice scenery of Chile is on full display.
Audio: As with many low budget films, the sound is not great.
Behind the Scenes (4:33): Cera, Hoffman and Silva discuss making the film. Cera and Hoffman do most of the talking.