As I began to glumly settle into an awareness of the kind of film Cocaine Bear is — a film that’s weirdly cottonball and barren but at the same time not a piece of shit and which is reasonably well-framed, cut, written and directed…as I took stock of what it was up to, I didn’t know what to make of it. Really…I was lost.
I can report that I laughed twice, which should count for something.
I honestly don’t know what to say except that CB is some kind of dopey–ass hybrid deadpan comic gorefest, and yet one that’s chortle-worthy at times and even touches bottom once or twice. “This is a wank, a waste of time,” I was muttering, “but it’s not that awful.”
I found myself lamenting, in fact, that director Elizabeth Banks and screenwriter Jimmy Warden had decided to go for dumb laughs — if they’d only committed to making some kind of dry, half-realistic ensemble docu-dramedy, CB might have amounted to something (though I can’t quite imagine what that would be exactly).
I’ll tell you this much — the late Ray Liotta plays it totally straight as a furrowed-brow drug dealer, and I felt really badly that he wasn’t allowed to play a nogoodnik of greater consequence, or at least that he wasn’t given better lines.
Alden Ehrenreich (whose hair is going gray already!) plays Liotta’s half-heartedly criminal son, and I swear to God he’s more compelling in this role than he was in Solo or Rules Don’t Apply.
The steadily low-key O’Shea Jackson Jr. is wasted, and that bummed me out. Ditto Keri Russell as a good mom searching the forest for her 13-year-old daughter (Brooklyn Prince, who of course looks nothing like Russell)…she also plays it straight like Ehrenreich and Liotta.
I just wish Banks hadn’t tried to goof her way through it. I wish she’d made this film in a Steven Soderbergh-type way. That’s all I’m saying.