Review: Netflix’s ‘Have a Good Trip’ provides a weak buzz at best
Nick Offerman serves as a quasi-host of the Netflix documentary 'Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics.' (Photo via YouTube)
Since social distancing and stay-at-home orders were put in place, celebrities have complained about being restricted to the cramped quarters of their mansions and private tennis courts. Their efforts to seem relatable feel strongly reminiscent of the iconic Us Weekly feature: “Stars — They’re just like us!” Like normal people, they stay inside, hate homeschooling their kids and, apparently, do drugs — at least according to Netflix’s new documentary Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics.
If you couldn’t guess from the songs they sing, shows they star in and videos they post, a lot of famous people love getting high. Have a Good Trip goes a bit farther off the grid than the standard acceptable drug reference — to my knowledge, no A$AP Rocky lyrics describe the time he ejaculated a rainbow.
The rapper joins other celebrities such as Sting, Nick Kroll and The Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann to discuss the times they’ve gotten really fucked up. Have a Good Trip uses interviews, reenactments and colorful animations to recount these celebrities’ experiences with LSD, peyote and other drugs. Their stories are far from serious, almost like a friend’s Sunday morning breakdown of their wild Saturday night out. The recounts are also slightly sad reminders of the laughs we used to have when bars were open and large gatherings were legal.
The objective yet vibrant storytelling in Have a Good Trip is hard to classify. It feels appropriate for Netflix, which is filled with drug-related shows and movies. Documentaries like How to Fix a Drug Scandal and Grass is Greener sit beside the hit series Narcos and the brain-numbing animated comedy Paradise PD. Somehow, Have a Good Trip awkwardly combines elements from each to create a surface-scratching picture of drug use.
Unless you already love the featured stars, Have a Good Trip feels more like a disappointing comedown than a good buzz. I watched this documentary sober, but my guess is that being inebriated might be the only way to find the stories truly entertaining. They only made me miss sitting on campus and overhearing people talk about their substance-induced escapades.
Have a Good Trip has few coherent takeaways, which makes it even harder to explain why it just isn’t that funny. Hearing celebrities such as the late Anthony Bourdain talk about tripping does help demystify the drugs that many people fear. Some recount great highs, but Ben Stiller’s scary experience definitely killed the vibe. His story stands out for having a genuine lesson and helps create a holistic picture of the drugs’ effects. Somehow, the documentary is not serious enough to help destigmatize these psychedelics but also not really funny enough to warrant a watch.
Obviously, many people are watching more Netflix to pass time and distract from the ensuing global chaos. People are, unsurprisingly, using drugs more, too. We are already seeing a mental health crisis spread as a result of isolation, anxieties and losses brought by the pandemic. Sting might call me a narc for this, but I wonder if this was really the time to release Have a Good Trip. Obviously, hallucinogens are completely different from opioids, but drugs probably should not be promoted during a public health crisis.
In fairness, the informal documentary does not explicitly encourage drug use. It harmlessly shows that psychedelics can be less dangerous than many assume. It’s not a political push, but a light advocacy for legalization in the name of personal freedom.
Watch Have a Good Trip if you love the people or love the drugs, but you can find more outrageous substance-induced stupidity on Barstool’s Instagram. We would basically be guaranteed a better result if their staff remade this with the same celebrities.
[Read more: We should keep TV as coronavirus-free as possible]