‘Cocaine Bear’ didn’t forget her line

A wildly bizarre yet true story is the inspiration for director Elizabeth Banks’ newest movie “Cocaine Bear.”

According to the exposition text, in 1985, a large amount of cocaine was dropped from a drug smuggler’s plane into the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia.

Before humans could find all of the drugs, a black bear ingested a large amount of the white powder and was hence christened “Cocaine Bear.”

The real bear died shortly after the incident without causing any harm. However, following the new trend of genre-bending pop culture icons — think “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey” or Santa Clause in “Violent Night” — the cocaine fuels the bear into a murderous rampage.

Violence is not the only element driving this movie. This is a comedy, which the movie clues viewers into from the beginning.

The text that rolls out after the opening sequence gives facts about black bears sourced from Wikipedia. How did I know that immediately in the theater? Because the text read “Source: Wikipedia.”

Quips and jokes stemming from a similar type of humor were peppered throughout the 95-minute runtime.

After the initial mauling of an innocent tourist in the opening scene, cocaine bear was noticeably absent from a good chunk of the movie. Instead, the audience is introduced to six different groups that are unknowingly in the forest with Cocaine Bear.

There are two children playing hooky to paint a waterfall (Brooklynn Prince, Christian Convery), the girl’s mom chasing after her (Keri Russel), a park ranger and a wildlife expert (Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson), a group of delinquent teens (Leo Hanna, J.B. Moore, Aaron Holliday), drug dealers (Ray Liotta, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich) trying to locate the missing cocaine and a law enforcement officer (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who’s trying to do the same thing.

During the background-building scenes, I found my attention drifting a little. However, as soon as people started dropping, I couldn’t look away.

“Cocaine Bear” does not shy away from gore. No two injury or death scenes are the same. They each have their own unique moment that is either humorous or bone-chilling.

The cocaine-fueled bear attacks are so surprising that I found myself watching the movie through my fingers, unable to look away, yet also wanting to block some of the blood and guts from my view.

There was a sequence that was so violent and shocking that the entire theater was stunned into silence. It was like everyone let out a collective gasp and held their breath for two minutes afterwards. The room was pin-drop silent.

Every time you thought you knew what would happen, the Cocaine Bear caused something even crazier to take place.

Now, I’m not critiquing the violence. This is what viewers are signing up for with “Cocaine Bear.”

If anything, it had me on the edge of my seat, hoping that my favorite characters would survive.

The other half of this horror-comedy is, of course, the comedy. I was giggling along with the rest of the audience at the offbeat humor. Jackson Jr. and Ehrenreich play a great comedic duo of good-cop bad-cop drug dealers and child actor Convery does a surprisingly authentic rendition of a child fascinated and horrified by a bear doing cocaine.

The comedic timing of the movie is pretty spot-on. A few scenes could have been cut a little tighter, but almost every joke got a laugh from at least one person in the audience.

Comedy helped cleanse my palate in between the horror and blood. The two genres were evenly mixed in the film. Where the tone shifts went wrong were the attempts at serious moments in the film. As a viewer, I did not want to see characters resolving their mommy and daddy issues in the third act.

The characters having epiphany moments about their family life felt out of place in the film. I understood that the characters had conflict with each other, but I felt it was too awkward and drawn out. They seemed to be over-explaining what we could already tell about the characters just from watching the movie.

Shallow or not, I didn’t want to see people resolving family trauma, I wanted to see what would happen to the bear that did cocaine.

Sitting back and watching what happens is how this movie is meant to be consumed. It’s not meant to be a serious film. It’s meant to be a fun time for everyone enamored with the crazy story that is “Cocaine Bear.”

And for that reason, it’s definitely worth the watch.