For the first week of February, BitPix has announced their pick of the week, and it’s quite a selection. The wild, hilarious and heartfelt Debbie And Doug Drop Acid In The Desert is a beautiful ride through the teetering relationship of its titular characters. Unsure of why their relationship has fizzled out in the way it has, the couple find themselves in the Joshua Tree desert, under the advice of a spiritualist (the wonderfully off-putting and hilarious Maria Bamford) who seems to have quite the affinity for the departed Patrick Swayze.
Despite the reluctance, the two try to use an unintentionally powerful dose of acid to solve their marital problems, leading them through a psychedelic journey through their own flaws and deepest fears, all in an attempt to find a way to get through this, together.
Despite the modest 25 minute runtime, this film packs a lot of emotional impact into a very short amount of time. Debbie’s (Angela Gulner) past traumas and fears of being alone are faced head-on, while Doug’s (Zack Gold) imposter syndrome and worries of failure hit him in full force during the journey, as the two of them face these fears, along with their own secrets, together.
While mostly billed as a comedy, on first viewing I gleaned so much more. The journey through their own hang-ups is powerful, and the trippy visuals only add to the effects of what these two are going through. It’s still very funny, with comedy staples such as Maria Bamford, Paul Scheer and the late Larry King all making appearances in one form or another, with King stealing the show as a representation of Doug and Debbie’s fears, which take the form of a ball of light that for some reason sounds like Larry King.
While the supporting cast is excellent and full of recognizable names, Gulner and Gold as the leads shine brighter than the sun hanging over the Joshua Tree desert. Having never done acid, I’m not sure how difficult it is to pretend to be on that very powerful (or so I’m told) drug, but either way, both actors left me fully convinced that this was a real experience, and the life-altering realizations of this one trip were as powerful as they seemed.
I’d also like to give a big shout-out to Scott Brown, the director of the film, who also co-wrote it with Gold. Between the mind-bending visuals and the roller coaster ride of a story, it was quite the spectacle.
It’s always interesting to see a film toe the line of genre, especially with comedy. Debbie And Doug Drop Acid In The Desert is by and large a comedy, but given the layers underneath, it felt like there was so much more to it than a few good laughs.
A film that truly needs to be seen to be understood, Debbie And Doug Drop Acid In The Desert is a film well worth the acclaim its gotten, as well as the selection of BitPix pick of the week. It’s well worth a watch through the BitPix platform, where it is currently being featured.