Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus (and 2012)

crystal_fairy

Release: Friday, July 12, 2013 (limited)

[Netflix]

Despite the poster, Michael Cera doesn’t spend the entire film running around, looking like he’s about to elope with part of a cactus. He does come close to doing just that, though, at one point or another, but come on. If you are sitting there thinking this is going to be a movie of any reasonable consequence, well, please by all means. . .pass that sweet cactus juice because I want to trip balls with you too.

Yes, friends, that is the kind of “aim high” movie we have on our hands here. A young student (read: nuisance) traveling abroad named Jamie (Cera) is desperate to find a chunk of the fabled San Pedro cactus, as its liquid contents apparently can make you hallucinate intensely. He just has to tick this off his list as he makes his way — abrasively — along the Chilean coast.

He’s not alone in his mission. Inexplicably he has found three or four locals who regularly want to hang around him, a few quiet Chilean boys who all seem equally infatuated with this crazy plant. One night at a party in the last town Jamie’s been staying in, he casually tosses out an invitation to join him on his mission to find this magical cactus — an invitation to an interesting woman who calls herself ‘Crystal Fairy.’ With thick, dark hair and a vibrant personality, Gaby Hoffman (Volcano, Field of Dreams)’s a striking presence, if for no reason other than how much she contrasts the rest of the scenery.

The next day on the road we find out what kind of person Jamie really is. When he discovers that he has invited this ‘hippie chick’ along with them on their journey, he immediately starts wishing he hadn’t. In fact he tries denying he really invited her. At the same time, we discover Cera’s capacity for acting — literally, acting — like a complete jackanape.

One truly hopes he is simply a surprisingly convincing character actor, and nothing more. Jamie is a massive thorn in the side, a quality that’s pretty evident from the get-go; however as the film goes on his character intentionally becomes the issue we have to deal with, more and more.

Slight as the film is, characters are everything. Dislike him or even hate him, it doesn’t change the fact that Cera actually makes for a rather effective anti-hero. Jamie is so unlikable that any transformational experience that supposedly does happen in this film happens solely in his character’s attitude. He goes from unbearable to slightly more tolerable come the end. Is that a good enough reason to get a lot of peeps to watch this film? Probably not. But it’s one of the only things a viewer is likely to notice or recall after seeing it.

Crystal Fairy tries, and tries pretty hard, to matter. It ekes out a rather. . .shall I say, “flashy?”. . . show from Hoffman, whose performance starkly contrasts from Cera’s more hyped-up and exasperating Jamie. They are good performances, but they are not particularly fun or interesting to watch. Even more so the group of friends of Jamie’s who all seem relegated to one-word lines for the entire hour and a half. None of them factored in whatsoever and weren’t effective in portraying what was intended to be a safe ‘middleground’ in opinion during each moment where Jamie and Crystal Fairy butted heads.

What’s most disappointing about the quietness of this film is that the journey was one advertised as a magical, adventurous experience — a unique little quirk of a film. This is an unspectacular psychedelic with a needlessly flashy street name. Unfortunately, Crystal Fairy overall does not compel enough as a trip worth taking.

crystal_fairy_1

1-5Recommendation: Here’s a great movie to watch if you want convincing that Michael Cera can really be irritating. I’ve always read things about him being an irritating actor, and yet I have not seen a role that has really gotten on my nerves. This wouldn’t be a problem necessarily if the writing was better and if the events here mattered one iota. But they don’t, and all you really end up doing is roaming in a no-man’s land of a cinematic experience.

Rated: NR

Running Time: 98 mins.

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Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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15 thoughts on “Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus (and 2012)

  1. I guess it makes sense now why he does not get offered many major roles anymore, other than the upcoming Magic Magic. The poster looked interesting so I had to click. Well written review, doubt I will be giving it a chance. No interest in joining No Man’s land.

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    • Hey man nice to meet you. Glad you liked it. This movie is a bit of a disappointment, and yes I guess it does make sense Cera’s not so much of a highly sought-after talent. I like him alright but he’s obnoxious here. . .

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    • Yeah, you know what? It’s really not a good one. I am slightly annoyed that I bothered to give it my time haha. I like Michael Cera, but there are limits sometimes. . .

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      • I can tell… I will just give it a skip then. I cannot stand movies like this… attempted humour, nothing short of annoying, weak and ludicrous story. I mean you can find a stoner comedy that absolutely works (Harold and Kumar/ Tucker and Dale vs Evil), but there are SO many of these out there that it just sucks.

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      • Absolutely. What blows my mind is the 81% Critic rating it gets on Rotten Tomatoes. (but then quickly compare that to the 5.9 on IMDb, which is way more realistic haha).

        This film fits every negative description you just threw down. It’s tried-and-true a fail. Not pretentious, but it just doesn’t work. There’s not enough substance here for it to even be pretentious. Except maybe the abuse of cacti. . .

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  2. 2/8? Hmmm, not exactly a recommendation. I’m not too fond of Michael Cera anyhow, so I probably will skip this.

    I just shared your review on Twitter 😀 Btw Tom, you’re not Twitter yet? Well when you sign up let me know so we can connect there too.

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    • Yeah Michael Cera is hit-and-miss for me, although more hit than miss. But Crystal Fairy is a huuuuuge miss. I am advising anyone who likes the guy that if they want to continue liking him, then they need to not see this one! haha

      I actually did have a Twitter account for awhile but I find that site really irritating so I got off of it. Maybe one day I shall return, but thank you very much for the sharing! That always helps. 🙂

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      • hmm…yes, perhaps I should. After all, it’s another great outlet for my page and whatnot. I guess I just need to learn how it works and all that. And yes, I hear what you’re saying about Facebook. I’m not a fan unfortunately either of that. Social media in general is a strange creature to me. 😀

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