Being something completely unlike anything else is normally a good thing for a film. Being a film that makes a viewer go “What the @$%# was that?” is what Don Peyote does. Don Peyote is like watching an acid trip slowly unfolding as it delves further in delusion and grandeur with a great message at its core, that youre not quite sure if it’s there or if it’s the drugs talking. It’s like a trainwreck that you can’t take your eyes off of, and no matter how much you want to look away you can’t.
Don Peyote is the story of Warren Allman (Dan Fogler), an unemployed stoner who has everything and nothing at all. He’s an unemployed graphic artist who spends his days getting high with an apple pipe, while “looking” for a job while being accosted by some surreal and vivid dreams, and helping his fiancé plan their wedding. On the way a party he is knocked down and sweated on by a homeless man, which must contain the same hallucinatory properties of a psychoactive toad, as it marks the star of a crazed 2012 doomsday theory obsession and his plans for a documentary on the subject. As Warren delves deeper into his apocalyptic fantasies he struggles to maintain his life and engagement plans. His documentary threatens to rip apart his life, and not just with the prospect of fame as he goes from average Joe to apocalyptic sign waving homeless man.
Don Peyote is a constant barrage of the senses with its endless stream of the oddest cameos ever experienced and scene changes that are whiplash inducing. It’s a fantastical odyssey with such grandiose ideas that succeeds in drowning its audience in the murky waters of those lost souls that are often forgotten with little more than a head shake.
The script while a hodpodge of events struggles to maintain any sense of story telling by the final act. The chaotic feel while calculated in the beginning, becomes a byproduct of an out of control story as the film progresses. Dan Fogler does do a great job of displaying Warren’s fall from grace with his acting. Warren has plenty of opportunity to stray from this downward path that he’s on, but rather than allowing his character to get pulled away from the brink of madness, he’s plunged deeply into it with meticulous care by the events and people surrounding him.
The cameos and strange moments are highly entertaining and at times awkwardly hilarious. It’s not just the fact that the characters are unexpected, but that actually work. Jay Baruchel plays a drug dealer, but gone is the normal smiling awkwardness that Baruchel normally exudes, and in its place is an oddly bristling cool. Anne Hathaway plays an assassin, who mindf#cks him with prophecy. There’s also musical numbers, costumed furries, orgies, and mental asylum mayhem in addition to the apocalyptic visions. So while there are some pretty funny moments, Don Peyote in the end is just too far out there and likely to fast become a stoner cult classic.
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