As if another example were needed that reality is always stranger than fiction, now comes the story of a bear under the influence of cocaine. What Cocaine Bear shows is the result of fiction, but the idea is inspired by a fact as real as that water is wet. In December 1985, a short piece appeared in The New York Times with the headline: “Cocaine and a Dead Bear.” The note referred to the discovery of a black bear that had apparently died of an overdose. In the final part, it was remarked that the substance was cocaine that had been thrown from a plane by a well-known trafficker who had also died trying to complete a parachute jump from the same plane.
We would have to read the above more than once to convince ourselves that they are not kidding us. It would not take more to convince us that those stories that are given every day, on any street in any neighborhood, far exceed everything that Hollywood and other film industries can invent. But since those from the movie mecca are so lazy, it is not surprising that they will use anything to turn it into a movie. This is how Elizabeth Banks ended up directing a script by Jimmy Warden that he turns into a black comedy about an intoxicated bear.
The Cocaine Bear
A disparate group of people ends up in a Georgia forest where a black bear is found wreaking havoc after getting intoxicated by ingesting a pack of cocaine. This is the premise presented by Cocaine Bear, Keri Russell (Felicity, Mission Impossible III) is at the center of this group of strangers who end up being besieged by the fearsome bear. We also have a peculiar policeman played by Isaiah Whitlock Jr. (BlacKkKlansman, Da 5 Bloods) and Ray Liotta in one of his last roles playing a drug lord. Jimmy Warden’s script focuses on generating humor through absurd situations, the more insane and illogical the better. As erratic and violent as the bear’s movements are the bars of the narrative.
Cocaine Bear is so absurd that it could easily find its way to becoming a cult film. It is undeniable that within the bunch of crazy situations, there are moments where we can’t help but laugh. Saying that the bear ends up being the best part of the film may be an insult to the rest of the cast, but it is certainly a compliment to the production. The avalanche of violence commands the frantic pace of the narrative that runs smoothly even when it does not go beyond the initial premise. We are always circulating on the same topic and the only thing that transcends is the bear’s journey.