It is a shaggy dog road movie, and a drug-hazy one at that, but beneath the silliness and character-based gags, Crystal Fairy is, I feel, an unusually insightful look at self-imposed false identities and group dynamics.
For a moment, Crystal Fairy looks like it’s going to be a real fish-in-a-barrel satire, its rifles aimed at two very easy targets. But once a coked-out Cera invites Hoffmann on his road trip, a voyage he hopes will culminate with the consumption of a psychotropic cactus, the film gains a ramshackle quality that’s difficult to resist.
The film is often beautiful and appealingly light. Every clear-eyed insight into why pushy people insist on pushing is matched by loose ensemble humor and lyric reveries.
On their own, Crystal and Jamie might be two of the worst road-trip companions imaginable; when one gets going, it’s easy to identify with the other’s frustration. But together – fueled by drugs, forced to share a space, separated from what they take for granted – they reconsider how they value the people who are not … them.