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Originally published Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM

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‘Crystal Fairy’: a spirited trip with a spoiled drug addict

A movie review of “Crystal Fairy,” a tale about a spoiled American addict (Michael Cera) who just can’t say no to drugs.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review 3 stars

‘Crystal Fairy,’ with Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann. Written and directed by Sebastián Silva. 98 minutes. Rated R for nudity, drug use, profanity. Varsity.

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Several versions of Michael Cera are available this summer.

In theaters, he turned up as a character unequivocally named Michael Cera in an end-of-the-world movie, “This Is the End,” that did surprisingly well at the box office.

The recent cable rebirth of “Arrested Development,” the show that turned him into a sweetly nerdy teen star in 2003-2006, served up a curious kind of nostalgia when it returned with new episodes.

At the Seattle International Film Festival a couple of months ago, Cera turned up in “Crystal Fairy,” which is back for a regular run this weekend. Now in his mid-20s, he’s making a bid for adult acceptance with a role that’s nothing like what he’s done before.

Snorting cocaine and preaching the gospel according to Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors of Perception,” Cera’s wildly indulgent Jamie aggressively shoves adolescence behind him with this tale of a spoiled American addict who just can’t say no to drugs. Especially in Chile, where he demonstrates just how far he plans to take his pursuit of stoner philosophy. That’s where he hooks up with Crystal Fairy, a radical female spirit, played by Gaby Hoffmann, who’s just as irritating as he is. She is, however, smarter and a better manipulator.

Once she takes over the movie (and Jamie), the clash of cultures is harrowing and sometimes hilarious. Jamie’s pursuit of a San Pedro cactus, considered essential to induce acid-strength trips, drives what’s left of the narrative.

The director, Sebastian Silva (“The Maid”), reportedly working without a script, comes up with a few hallucinations of his own, including a revelatory beach party and a soundtrack that’s lifted daringly from (of all things) Henry Mancini’s romantic 1967 score for “Two for the Road.”

John Hartl:

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