For Michael Cera fans (myself included) “Crystal Fairy” brings good and bad news. The good: The once and future George-Michael Bluth is more than capable of playing non-boyish, non-adorable characters. The bad: Jamie, the deeply odious drug tourist he plays in this film leers through his fright wig mop of hair over a beaky nose that only clarifies his raptor sensibility. By the second time he mentions Aldous Huxley (doesn’t take long) you’re rooting for an overdose, a drunken plunge down the stairs, an ill-intended representatives of a drug cartel. Anything to shut him up.
Happily, the real focus of this way-low-budget-indie film turns out to be its title character, played with frantic innocence by Gaby Hoffman. Or maybe she’s not that spacey, and maybe her homespun version of light and verity springs from the darkest kind of core.
Set in Chile over the course of a two-day excursion centered around a group peyote trip, the Jamie-led journey becomes a kind of grim slog echoing the worst parts of imperialism, stonerism and obnoxious young mannism. As ever, the search for transcendence springs from many visions and not all are entirely pure. A kind of magic results, and the flashes of human generosity and love — particularly from the three Chilean brothers who Jamie has co-opted as friends/guides(played by real brothers Jose Miguel Silva, Juan Andres Silva and Augustin Silva) reveal how far you don’t have to go to find transcendence in the chilly murk of a cloudy beachside morning.