Author-producer Donick Cary has spent his complete profession close to the highest of the showbiz comedy heap, from stints on “Late Present with David Letterman” and “The Simpsons” to sitcoms like “Simply Shoot Me!,” “New Woman,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Silicon Valley.” So it shouldn’t shock that his first directorial function, the documentary “Have a Good Journey,” is much less a critical dive into its chosen topic than an excuse to have a variety of familiar-face colleagues and acquaintances serve up humorous anecdotes.
Since these anecdotes are about hallucinogenic drug utilization, this Netflix Authentic can hardly assist however be entertaining. It additionally comes properly kitted out with plentiful animation, campy archival snippets, comedy-sketch “reenactments” and extra. However these searching for a lot in the way in which of actual perception will discover this amiable enterprise doesn’t stray very removed from a normal, standard-stoner-yuks tenor of “OMG I used to be SO HIGH!!!”
No less than there’s little pretense in any other case, as we begin out with clips from classic LSD scare movies (in which the intrepid chemical explorer is promised “immediate madness, a never-never land of no return”), then leap to Nick Offerman as a nominal-host “scientist” in a laboratory. He admits, “Don’t get me flawed, medicine could be harmful … however they can be hilarious.” After duly psychedelic cartoon opening credit, we meet the primary of quite a few celebrities who inform tales of non-public trippage in chaptered, standalone sequences.
That preliminary storyteller is Sting, whose reminiscences are amusing. However he additionally appears to have derived extra philosophical and religious worth from his experiences than anybody else right here. “Even once I’ve had a nasty journey, and I’ve had many, I at all times realized it was what I wanted,” he says. Extra typical are comedians like Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll, who merely recall wacky behaviors underneath the affect.
A few of these anecdotes are illustrated in extra animation (by Sugarshack, whose artists strike a colourful median between “Yellow Submarine” and Sally Cruikshank), others in live-action skit type. The late Anthony Bourdain’s formative Catskills multi-drug blowout is raucously acted out by younger performers, as an illustration, whereas in a while, Paul Scheer and Rob Corddry play one another in back-to-back flashbacks. Lewis Black remembers the mortification of now not having the ability to bear in mind his identify on acid; Carrie Fisher an encounter with a “misbehaving” acorn in Central Park. Rapper A$AP Rocky wins a gold star for confessing “What can I say, no lie: A rainbow shot out of my d—, and it had a sound like a piano.”
Even the unhealthy first-trip recollections of Ben Stiller, Rosie Perez (who was dosed with out her consent) and others are performed for laughs. We do get a number of extra critical phrases on the topic from Deepak Chopra, Zach Leary (Timothy’s son), and Dr. Charles Grob, an skilled on the therapeutic potential of hallucinogens to deal with nervousness, substance abuse, psychological sickness and extra. That discipline’s extremely promising analysis was reduce off by criminalizing authorities response towards 1960s leisure utilization, although a postscript right here notes such research have not too long ago been allowed to start once more.
Grateful Useless drummer Invoice Kreutzmann and Flower Energy pop star Donovan seem briefly to characterize the hippie period’s earnest lysergic and psilocybic experimentation. However with the first interviewees right here being a lot youthful, “Have a Good Journey” is dominated by people who did medicine with no larger purpose in thoughts than enjoyable. Some admit having carried out “lots” of acid or ’shrooms, but there’s little or no dialogue of the way it modified them, or what if something they realized. There’s extra consideration paid to a listing of druggy “don’t’s,” together with such apparent no-no’s as “driving on acid,” and tripping with prankster jerks who’ll attempt to “freak you out.”
Ergo the perfect of “Journey” winds up being its most baldly comedic, significantly a mock 1970s “LSD Afterschool Particular” in which Adam Scott grimly narrates the alarmist story of 4 good suburban teenagers lured into doing “onerous medicine.” Naturally, each doable worst-case situation ensues. Its progress interspersed all through the documentary, this fictive tragedy is a spotlight, as are the too-brief excerpts from (actual) classic classroom cautionary movies.
Cary’s slick, starry and breezy pet challenge solely reaches the 75-minute level earlier than amply-padded closing credit start. It’s devoted to Fisher and Bourdain, who each handed away since filming their cheerful appearances right here. Indie rock legends Yo La Tengo contributed the unique rating, although their signature sound isn’t a lot in proof till a closing track.