Director: elizabeth banks | Script: Jimmy warden | Cast: Keri Russell (Sari), Margo Martindale (Ranger), Ray Liotta (Syd), O’Shea Jackson (Daveed), Isiah Whitlock (Bob), ea | Time to play: 95 minutes | Year: 2023
Cheap slasher movies of the 1980s had a plot to match the quality of the budget. That was all it took, it just had to be teen entertainment with a possibly lightweight message (usually “don’t start having sex too young”, because the flirtatious characters were put to the knife). It was up to the teens if they did anything with it. cocaine bear it shows footage of the anti-drug campaign from that decade, but most of the victims are innocent people and the bear is ultimately just a beast that wants to do its thing.
1985. A drug dealer makes a mistake that causes him to crash somewhere in a residential area. The bags full of cocaine that he dropped from the plane are now available in Appalachia. Only a drug lord knows about it and he sends some people to look for them. Meanwhile, a bear has stumbled upon the white powder and has become uninhibitedly addicted to it. All visitors to the nature park are a target, including two absent children.
When Elizabeth Banks is on camera with a funny script, she can make you laugh with little effort. Even in more serious roles, she is a fine actress. When she takes the director’s chair, success is not guaranteed. His pitch perfect 2 was full of comments that were inappropriate even in 2015, and his Charlie’s Angels sadly it lacked the right cast and a big grain of salt for a second remake of an outdated series (the predecessor McG had already shown what tone is perfect for that).
Banks indicates that he has never used cocaine, but the author of cocaine bear he probably likes having a white nose. He should know it himself, but why do users always have to force it on others? Pretty shocking that Banks has two twelve year old boys take a big mouthful of cocaine in this movie. They immediately spit it out, but the nonchalance with which both boys are willing to try hard drugs is reckless in this age of increasing use among young people.
Banks isn’t a bad director and she acts professionally (even if her style isn’t impressive), but this movie isn’t a happy choice. As a Hollywood star, she’s lucky that household names appear. The cast includes three stars of the series. The Americans (Keri Russell, her husband Matthew Rhys and Margo Martindale being the funniest of all), and the late Ray Liotta in one of his last appearances.
Also Jesse Tyler Ferguson, known as Mitchell de Modern Family, is present. Probably because the movie was produced by two gentlemen who made that series. It’s clear everyone enjoyed being on set, though the contrived improv scenes thankfully didn’t materialize. Dutchman Hannah Hoekstra, who has previously worked with Banks, can also be seen briefly.
She is one of the first to see the bear, but strangely the beast is already completely hyperactive from the drugs. There’s no footage of that bear accidentally bumping into a bag full of powder and experiencing what it’s like to be high for the first time. Too bad, because that’s how the first bear attack hits your roof a little raw. The entire script is rhythmic chaos. The common thread is actually Keri Russell trying to find her missing daughter of hers, but she spends the least amount of time on it.
Most of the attention goes to the two accomplices who have to find and return the bags. At the park entrance, they encounter three violent but ditzy punks trying to rob one of the accomplices. That scene as a whole is a highly accomplished copy of eighties movies. The pointless moment itself, the stage, the clothes and the acting. However, it seems involuntary, because the rest of cocaine bear it’s just a modern production.
It’s the brainchild of a Hollywood cabal who thought the idea was fun and hopes the world is looking forward to this. With such a title and such a premise, it certainly attracts enough of an audience to cover the costs, which must not have been very high. Perhaps most of the budget went to the bear, but even that is often clearly computer generated. You get what you expect, but it could have been a little more than this.