While Myra has headed to foreign climes to escape Wyatt, losing herself in the exotic culture, there are greater reasons for her journey. Ivan wanted her to visit a 700 year old shaman, in order to fully release and develop her mostly latent powers. The path to her destiny is tortuous though, which explains why Myra hooks up with quack doctor Doc Ansell (Jim Broadbent), casually helping him flog the equivalent of snake-oil to the gullible natives. This is a short-lived partnership for the ambitious Myra, who dumps Ansell suddenly only to find herself saddled with the unwelcome company of freelance reporter Alex Ross (Russell Crowe), who's actually in the employ of Wyatt.
Rough Magic functions in mysterious ways though, becoming especially strange as Myra and Ross make their erratic way into the wilderness. Ansell turns up again and fortuitously provides the essential key to finding Tojola (Euva Anderson), the shaman to whom Ivan referred. Events take on an increasingly warped tone as Myra makes her way into some sort of female commune on the slopes of a volcano, discarding the chauvinistic Ross and stinking drunk Ansell.
Set in a parallel universe 1950's, Rough Magic plays itself out in an era of smooth, bulbous automobiles and a Mexico which was still dark and unknown to its northern neighbours. The reasons underpinning Myra's engagement are somewhat unclear, assuming that it's not for the money, but it's quite apparent that this is to be a marriage of convenience. Hence it is easy for Myra to abandon the cold, analytical US (where science is king) for warm, emotional Mexico (where people feel more human). Competing with this mildly environmental theme are the old stand-by characters who've lost their way, drifting through life. Myra and Ross share this trait, though by pairing up and being true to themselves they can escape from their funk. Unfortunately, while these plot elements are straightforward, Rough Magic fumbles them. It's handling of the essential magic and mysticism is simply unconvincing.
Allied with this uneven tone, neither the cast nor the script which they have to work with have that vital spark. Fonda looks very pretty in her gorgeous outfits but she doesn't contain the self-assurance to handle Myra's attitude and changes. Both Crowe and Moffet are one-dimensional, each burdened with the consequences of the Atomic Age, while Broadbent hams his lines like they're his last. Perhaps the best acting comes from Barkley the dog, a practiced scene-stealer. With its overly ambitious B-movie screenplay, Rough Magic checks in as a relentlessly average production. Luckily there are sufficient wacky moments to coast the average viewer through any dull moments.