‘Spirit Quest’ Attempts to Combine Stoner Comedy and Strong Characters, and Ends Up With Neither

Ulises Duenas

 

There have been many stoner buddy movies since the days of Cheech and Chong. There are also even more indie movies out there about self-discovery and introspection. Spirit Quest (from Gravitas Ventures) is an indie film that combines these two ideas but, unfortunately, it doesn’t succeed as a good comedy or an insightful character profile.

 

The basic premise of the movie is that two friends are on a trip to the desert where they decide to eat a bunch of mushrooms that will hopefully take them on a spirit journey. Tip is there to get over a recent breakup, and his friend Brent is his self-appointed spiritual guide. While their friendship and interactions are the core of the film, they don’t have great chemistry together for comedy. The jokes either fall flat or are just humorous enough to be identified as a decent joke without actually making you laugh. It doesn’t help that a lot of the runtime is dedicated to a more dramatic plotline involving Tip getting over his relationship trauma.

 

 

 

This is a common pitfall for a lot of indie comedies. It’s not enough to just be funny; it feels like they force themselves to have a deeper meaning. While some pull off that balancing act, Spirit Quest can’t make it work. I don’t mind when comedies throw in character development, but it’s just not that deep or interesting here. The dialogue is made to feel relatable, as if these characters could really exist, but it comes at the cost of being uninteresting.

 

Usually, these kinds of movies have over-the-top visuals since the main characters are always high and they see random, abstract hallucinations. While the main characters do trip out and see things, they’re not exciting or funny. It’s a shame because they could have done a lot with hallucination scenes to add more comedy, but even those scenes are mostly there to further develop Tip’s character.

 

 

Comedy isn’t an easy thing to pull for an entire movie, and it’s even harder to do comedy while also writing compelling characters. Spirit Quest focuses too much on character development and even in that department, I was unimpressed. There are good scenes towards the end of the movie that make Tip’s character more complete, but they lack levity, and by the end, Brent’s character just ends up feeling like a plot device. As a fan of the stoner comedies of the past, I must say Spirit Quest just doesn’t hit the mark.

 

Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.

 

For Highbrow Magazine

 

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