Elizabeth Banks is only three films into her directing career and each more filled with LIES than the last! First there was 2015’s unnecessary sequel Pitch Perfect 2, starring a dubiously aged Rebel Wilson, followed by 2019’s unnecessary sequel Charlie’s Angels, starring a dubiously angelic Kristen Stuart. Now we have the first trailer for Elizabeth’s third outing, Cocaine Bear, which purports to be “inspired by true events” and features a dubiously alive and vicious bear on a rampage after having ingested 76 pounds of cocaine that fell from the sky in a Kentucky forest in 1985.
Despite a fun cast which includes Clay Davis (Isiah Whitlock) from The Wire, the movie reunites Keri Russell with her handler from The Americans, Margo Martindale, (not to mention her 80s wigs and disguises), and features one of Ray Liotta‘s final performances, the biggest lie of all is at the expense of Cocaine Bear’s honor. The sad truth is that the bear died shortly after ingesting the drugs and never once hurt a fly. Here’s the trailer.
Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it’s a dark comedy, so it’s not like I’d expect a perfectly faithful accounting of events, but according to Roadside America, no person living or dead ever once laid eyes on the Cocaine Bear before he died from the overdose. The cocaine had been “dropped from a drug smuggler’s airplane,” after the smuggler himself, “an elite Kentucky horse-breeding family” grabbed ten duffel bags full of coke, bailed out of the plane without opening his parachute, “hit his head on the tail of the aircraft” and died. Three weeks after the smuggler’s body was found, a hunter stumbled across Cocaine Bear, but his body was left to rot for three weeks before authorities were alerted. When a necropsy was performed, the coroner found that “Its stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine. There isn’t a mammal on the planet that could survive that. Cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure, stroke. You name it, that bear had it.” Yet somehow, the bear is the bad guy!?! I’m so mad I could spit.
During a trailer launch event moderated by The Hollywood Reporter, Banks, who previously directed Pitch Perfect 2 and Charlie’s Angels, explained why she sees a connection between her previous projects and this one. “All of my films so far, mostly, are about underdogs, and no matter who you are, if you meet a bear who is high on cocaine, you are the underdog in that situation,” Banks said. “And that presents an opportunity just for a lot of comedy and delight.”
Jesus, lady. How could you get it so wrong? Who will give Cocaine Bear the proper respect he’s due!? Even after death, he’s had a remarkable life. After getting necropsied, he was stuffed and mounted and displayed at a local recreation area before moving on to a Nashville pawnshop, then to Waylon Jennings’ private collection, then to a Las Vegas hustler, then to a Chinese herbalist in Reno before landing in his final resting place — The Kentucky For Kentucky Fun Mall. If that’s not a hero’s journey,I don’t know what is. Lordy, I don’t know who fumbled the transition between actor and director worse, Elizabeth or Olivia Wilde. But I’ve got half a mind to go buy Cocaine Bear myself, if only to have him show up at whatever film festival will have this movie, wearing T2T Bearlenciaga and swirling an Aperol & Honey Spritz.