Matt Besser as Self
Lewis Black as Self
Anthony Bourdain as Self
Rob Corddry as Self
Carrie Fisher as Self
Sting as Self
David Cross as Self
Rosie Perez as Self
Nick Offerman as Scientist
Adam Scott as After School Special Host
Written and directed by Donick Cary
Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics Review:
Right now is a crazy time in the world where people are searching for various means of escape from the troubles and sadness of our current situation, with activities ranging from binging their streaming watchlists to playing board games and putting together puzzles with roommates and family or even looking to improve their cooking abilities. But then there’s a certain population of the world who are using vices as a means to escape, from smaller things such as alcohol to more extreme methods like psychedelics and Netflix’s latest documentary Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics explores the hilarious and cautionary world of mind-bending drugs told by some of the most iconic comedians in showbiz.
Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics is a documentary featuring comedic tripping stories from A-list actors, comedians, and musicians. Star-studded reenactments and trippy animations bring their surreal hallucinations to life. Mixing comedy with a thorough investigation of psychedelics, Have a Good Trip explores the pros, cons, science, history, future, pop cultural impact, and cosmic possibilities of hallucinogens. The film tackles the big questions: Can psychedelics have a powerful role in treating depression, addiction, and helping us confront our own mortality? Are we all made of the same stuff? Is love really all we need? Can trees talk? Cast members include Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, Ad-Rock, Rosie Perez, A$AP Rocky, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, and Rob Corddry to name a few.
The depiction and general consensus on psychedelics has always been one of fear and distaste, with a fairly ignorant opinion that they have no positive effects for people and are only meant to break their minds and send them into insanity. This documentary seeks to find a way to try and balance its central message that further research into the effects of the titular drugs on the human mind, including helping ease anxiety and depression in those struggling with them, is important while also wanting to warn people that it’s not a pool you want to dive head first into, and the balance works for the most part.
The scientific side of things is never developed enough for it to feel like a genuine deep dive in to psychedelics, instead seeing its interviewees, including Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences Charles Grob, throw out some minor official terms without actually going far enough with research numbers or studies explaining the positives of the drugs. This lack of a further step keeps the documentary from feeling like a well-researched affair and more like just kicking back and having word-of-mouth flashbacks with these celebrities rather than informed conversations.
That being said, these flashbacks are a hilarious ride of a wave of good and bad experiences with psychedelics with America’s everyman Ben Stiller first and only time experimenting with acid to veterans Anthony Bourdain and Carrie Fisher reflecting on their early trips, including the Star Wars actress falling asleep on stage next to a speaker of a Grateful Dead concert, being topless on a beach near tourists and chatting with an acorn in a park. Lewis Black looking back on the time he forgot his name and Rob Corddry and Paul Scheer acting as each other in flashbacks of their first time using LSD and acid feels like a comedy match made in heaven as they each nail their respective mannerisms.
Writer/director Donick Cary chooses to bring these stories to life in a variety of fashions in both live-action recreations with comedians perfectly cast in the younger iterations of their legendary personas, including Nelson Franklin as Black, Natasha Leggero as Fisher and Adam DeVine as Bourdain, as well as animated recreations, both of which feel appropriately chosen for the stories they’re assigned to. With some of the celebrity stories requiring more cosmic imagery, the animation brilliantly brings the hallucinatory tales to life while the live-action portions feel like a nice grounded-yet-believable portrayal of these trips.
These flashbacks and recreations are paired with a faux after-school special featuring Parks and Recreation vets Nick Offerman as a scientist making meta jokes about these specials and Adam Scott as the host of the “Bad Trip” recreation that fully embraces the campy nature of the old-school PSAs against drug use to gut-busting heights thanks to appearances from Ron Funches, Maya Erskine, Riki Lindhome and Haley Joel Osment.
Overall, Have a Good Trip is a plenty funny dive into the world of psychedelics, namely with celebrities audiences may not realize have experimented with the mind-altering drugs, and offers some decent insight into the positive effects they have, but could have benefitted from diving a little further into the scientific nature of it all.