It’s been 37 years since the news first broke about a black bear found dead in Georgia after ingesting about 70 pounds of cocaine, which apparently fell out of a dead smuggler’s plane and landed in the wilderness. But it’s only been a few years since the news broke that The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street directors-turned-producing-team Phil Lord and Chris Miller were backing a dark comedy based on that news story, turning the dead bear into a rampaging, drug-addled killer bear “on a rampage for blow and blood,” per the movie’s tagline. Now the first trailer for Cocaine Bear has landed, and it’s wall-to-wall mayhem: part Stephen King’s Cujo, part Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, with maybe a little bit of Reno 911! thrown in.
Ray Liotta features in Cocaine Bear, the last film he completed before his death in early 2022. There are a lot of familiar names in the cast, including Margo Martindale, Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Scott Seiss, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. among them. But the star is clearly the CG bear, which alternates between cute YouTube-animal behavior and ripping people’s limbs off, apparently because it feels they’re coming between it and its next bump.
Elizabeth Banks directed Cocaine Bear, which seems like an odd project for her: Banks’ work on Pitch Perfect 2 and the 2019 Charlie’s Angels shows she’s interested in both comedy and action, but this one seems a little reckless, silly, and over-the-top for her tastes. Or maybe we’re just seeing a side of her we’ve never seen before: the side attracted to thoroughly goofy humor about people being terrorized by coked-up wildlife.
Cocaine Bear will debut in theaters on Feb. 24, 2023.