dir: Elizabeth Banks
Cocaine Bear is an actual movie that exists. It is about a bear that finds a tonne of cocaine, and really likes eating it and snorting it.
The words “based on a true story” have never done heavier lifting than in the sentence “Cocaine Bear is based on a true story”. Yes, there was once a shitload of cocaine dumped out of a plane. And yes a bear found these packages and enjoyed their contents.
That’s where all similarities between that story and the story depicted here end.
This feels like it should have been called Cocaine Bear? Fuck Yeah! or That Fuckin’ Cocaine Bear!. It should have had Werner Herzog in it, or at least have him doing ample amounts of voice over.
It should have embraced the complete idiocy of its premise and just had a rampaging massive black bear terrorising a city, having been made invincible through its ingestion of a tonne of cocaine, just killing crackers left right and centre.
Instead it manages to not even really be about the bear. It’s about a bunch of puny humans, most of whom get between the bear and more cocaine, and so they suffer the ultimate indignity of being killed indifferently by a bear that just wants more cocaine.
These humans vary greatly in whether they amuse us until the bear comes back, or whether they make us grind our teeth, begging for the bear to come back and kill them so they can shut the fuck up. Isaiah Whitlock Jnr is a cop who wants to find the cocaine, but is more affronted because he tried to get a decent dog, but ended up with a froo-froo Maltese Terrier, which threatens his masculinity way too much. I have no idea why he’s in the flick.
Margo Martindale plays a weird park ranger who flirts with some weird animal activist (Jesse Taylor Ferguson) until thankfully, blissfully, the bear kills them both. I disliked almost every second that they were onscreen, and I love Margo Martindale. She did not read the assignment.
Ray Liotta, Ray fucking Liotta, the original cocaine bear, plays the drug dealer whose drugs were thrown out of the plane and are now giving the bear the high of its life in the Georgia mountains. He somehow manages to look way scarier than the bear. This was his last role before he died; he died literally a week after re-recording some lines in post-production. And that’s pretty shameful.
He should have played the bear. It would have been more convincing to have him wear a costume and growl at people. I feel sad that he’s gone, but, honestly, some people are too terrifying for this world.