Small spoiler: A man talks about his fear of sharks; later he goes wading in the ocean. Depending on the movie, one of at least three things can happen: (a) He is attacked by a shark; (b) he imagines he is attacked by a shark; or (c) no shark, real or imagined, appears. Type (a) is a clever sort of movie; type (b) is psychological; and type (c)–well, type (c) could be kind of a random walk. (All can be good movies.) Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012 is type (c).
Jamie (Michael Cera) is a young American at a party in Chile. He sees a compatriot (Gaby Hoffmann) dancing freely; out of his natural disposition (perhaps a bit addled by cocaine), he feels compelled to warn her that she is making a fool of herself. She takes no offense, introducing herself as Crystal Fairy, and Jamie, now definitely drugged, invites her to join him on an auto trip he is taking the next day.
The trip, by Jamie and three Chilean brothers, is a search for San Pedro cactus, which can be cooked to yield a brew of a legendary hallucinogen. By the time Crystal Fairy meets up with them, Jamie has forgotten his invitation and is all for leaving her behind; the brothers demur.
Onward travel the five, with Jamie Type-Aing out over the prospective mescaline and the others relaxing and enjoying the journey. As the film’s poster suggests, they find the succulent they seek.
I have another small spoiler to contrast this film with what other filmmakers might imagine. The night of the party, Jamie and the brothers run into a pair of prostitutes on the street, and Jamie invites them to his apartment for a snack. In another story, the prostitutes would rob the foursome or otherwise complicate their lives; here, they stay for a brief time and then leave, with the only consequence that Jamie oversleeps the next morning. This is a film about enjoying the journey. I did.
Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus and 2012 (reviews) (official site)
Directed and written by Sebastián Silva
Language: English and quite a bit of subtitled Spanish
Running time: 98 minutes
DVD release date: November 19, 2013