Coming Up Or A Buzzkill?
“Drugs can be dangerous…but they can also be hilarious,” Nick Offerman tells us early into Netflix’s film and oh, how true that is. Explaining what being on drugs is like to someone who’s never experienced it before is a tricky endeavour. Ecstasy is not all gurning and dancing to trance music all night (although granted that is part of the allure), nor are magic mushrooms a drug that transports you to a chocolate-covered fantasy world full of fantastical creatures. Instead, drug use can be a disorientating, paranoia-inducing, terrible experience but it can also be the most exhilarating, exciting and mind-altering experience of your life.
Bringing together celebrity minds that have “been there done that” when it comes to tripping on LSD, Have A Good Trip is partly a journey down memory lane for anyone who’s taken drugs and a strangely informative and comedic outlook on drug use as different celebrities are interviewed about their experiences. As we’re told early on, the media have distorted and twisted what being on hallucinogenics is really like and throughout the 80 minutes you do get a pretty good idea of what it’s actually like if you haven’t taken drugs.
Having personally experienced the best of both worlds, the advice here is actually pretty sound. Don’t look in mirrors (I did this one time and the freckles on my face turned into dancing ants), be with trusted friends (making the trip I had of my best friend and her boyfriend switching clothes all the more hilarious) and stay away from crowded areas (The taxi ride home saw me avoid eye-contact with the driver as I was convinced he was watching me the entire time instead of driving).
Most of the film is consumed by face to face interviews with these different celebrities as they discuss their experiences, with their tales then interwoven with sketches, animations and gags to prevent the film falling too deeply into the realm of seriousness. There’s also an on-running sitcom that plays on the over-the-top cheesy videos you’re fed in school, complete with over-acting and incredulous scenarios for good measure. While funny the first time around, the decision to throw these in constantly through the run-time does offset the pacing slightly
There’s a pretty balanced perspective through the film though, as the mix of good, bad and the scientific are thrown in to help give a balanced perspective of the topic. From Ben Stiller’s bad trip to Carrie Fisher’s hilarious experience on the beach and then with an acorn, there’s a whole range of wild and wonderful tales here that are brought to life nicely across the run-time.
It won’t be for everyone, and for those who have never tried drugs this probably won’t be as relatable to those who have been down that rabbit hole and seen what lies at the other side. As someone who found drugs had both a positive and negative affect on my life, it’s certainly a taboo topic that’s still the point of much heated debate both in governments and in households the world over.
Regardless of what happens legally with these drugs, Have A Good Trip is a refreshing change of pace and while it may not hit the euphoric heights of “coming up” on ecstacy or make you as buzzy as a good experience on LSD, there’s an entertaining docu-film here nonetheless that’s worth checking out.