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Film Review: Have a Good Trip

20 May 20 words: Hollie Anderson

A documentary as disjointed as the psychedelic “adventures” it tries to recreate...

Director: Donick Cary
Starring: Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, A$AP ROCKY
Running time: 85 minutes

Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics is a new Netflix Original documentary. It sells itself as a chance to share in celebrity tales of hallucinogenic highs and lows. Although it never promises to add to any debate, you are left wondering why it was made in the first place – especially as the trailer suggests there are two sides to the story. 

It has to be said that this documentary really has got a brilliant variety of interviews and faces littered throughout – too many to list here. I especially enjoyed tales from A$AP ROCKY, Carrie Fisher, Ben Stiller, Sting and the odd snippet from Orange is the New Black’s Natasha Lyonne. They are all talking very frankly from within their own homes, which proves fascinating. 

However, the overall format of the documentary is lacking. It’s composed of a jumble of interviews, animated versions of celebrity highs, re-enactments of psychedelic experiences, the occasional tip for when taking psychedelics and a fake old-school documentary about drugs. There’s an attempt to be comical and fun in all of this, but in fact the production just seems childish; the humour often misses the mark and plays into every (unfair) stereotype of pro and anti-drug campaigns. None of it properly links together, so the personal accounts get lost.  

If you’re searching for a thought-provoking documentary, there are certainly better options

The documentary also leans very obviously towards the pro-drug argument. There’s nothing wrong in this, but it does it with very little tact and no attempt to balance the documentary. Ben Stiller’s anecdotes of a bad trip do add something (interesting, given he is one of the documentary’s producers), and some others hint at how drugs aren’t for everyone...but this is barely explored by the interviewers. 

At the end of the documentary, a brief screen of text details the legalisation of psychedelics in some states, and further research into its uses to treat certain health conditions. Perhaps they could have explored this with their interviewees or returned to it as a point throughout the documentary? They briefly interview a professor studying the uses of psychedelics, but it seems like it’s been mindlessly dropped in. A lost opportunity to create a linchpin for the piece.

All in all, this isn’t a terrible watch – though it certainly could have been thirty minutes shorter. If you’re interested in the legalisation of drugs or any of the celebrities interviewed – you’ve got nothing to lose by watching, even if it does fail to get to reach any conclusion. 

If, however, you’re searching for a thought-provoking documentary, there are certainly other, better options out there.

Did you know? Director Donick Cary conducted over 70 interviews for the documentary, with the vast majority not making it into the final cut. 

Have a Good Trip is now available on Netflix

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