wed 24/07/2024

Have a Good Trip, Netflix review - a breezy journey into the mind | reviews, news & interviews

Have a Good Trip, Netflix review - a breezy journey into the mind

Have a Good Trip, Netflix review - a breezy journey into the mind

Netflix doc focuses on the lighter side of psychedelics

Rob Corddry recreates Paul Scheer's trip to the Van Gogh museum

Don’t do drugs, kids. For the past 50 years, that’s been the consistent message. But how much of what we know about psychedelics is just fearmongering? Do you really want to jump out of a window? Will you permanently lose your mind?

To find out the truth behind the campaigns, writer Donick Cary dives into the real-life trips of a gaggle of famous faces for this multicoloured Netflix documentary.

When you think of rock stars on drugs, you might imagine tragic scenes of excess and overdose. It’s unlikely you picture Sting birthing a cow while tripping on Mexican peyote. But this farcical tableau is where we start, an animated crossover of Yellow Submarine and All Creatures Great and Small. It sets the tone for light-hearted anecdotes about poor decisions and unfortunate timing.

Each tale is supported by either tongue-in-cheek re-enactment or animations that morph and reshape into endless vivid forms. We witness Carrie Fisher caught topless on the beach, Rosie Perez melting into her mattress, and Lewis Black trying to remember his own name. In one amusing sequence, Rob Corddry and Paul Scheer play each other, clearly relishing the chance to skewer the other’s trips.Nick Offerman in Have a Good TripThese recreations are occasionally relied on to do some heavy lifting, as not every trip can reach the high bar set. For every desert kidnapping to a tyre dealer (Ad-Rock from Beastie Boys), there’s someone getting scared and calling their parents (Ben Stiller). Not every trip is created equal, and one takeaway is that musicians outrank comedians on the best stories.

Alongside these anecdotes are a series of hit-and-miss parodies of anti-drug videos. Nick Offerman (pictured above) is underutilised as a scientist explaining trippy phenomena, while Adam Scott and Riki Lindhome’s after-school special is simply not funny enough. The acting and production effectively recreate the overdramatic tone, but the writing is neither surreal nor acerbic enough to leave an impression.

And this perhaps highlights Have a Good Trip’s biggest flaw. It’s lightweight, more interested in anecdotes than answers. For all the talk about how psychedelic trips change you as a person, it’s all a bit inconsequential. There are flashes of Dr Charles Grob, who’s researching the use of psychedelics to treat depression and trauma, but these are quickly interrupted by A$AP Rocky talking about a rainbow flying out of his penis.

Of course, not every documentary about drugs has to be a serious exposé, and it’s refreshing to see so many celebrities talk openly about their positive experiences. But there’s scarce few stories that stand out from anyone else that’s taken hallucinogenics – you can witness most of them at any UK festival. It seems that psychedelic trips, like dreams, are always more profound to the person who experienced them.


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