Cocaine Bear

Reviewed by: Lee Callaghan

February 26, 2023

A movie about a bear going on a cocaine-induced rampage with an ensemble of happenstance characters intertwined by chance. What could possibly go wrong with this? In fact, not much. With Elizabeth Banks at the helm for this collection of sub-plots and zany animal antics, viewers are caught up in multiple storylines that all converge around the central antagonist. This bear had a taste for cocaine.

Cocaine Bear is loosely based around actual events, the lost drop of cocaine from drug runner Andrew Thorton and the millions of dollars worth of cocaine dropped on the Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest, much of which ended up being consumed by a local black bear. And that’s where the facts stop and the wackiness ensues. 

With kids traveling through the park looking to find a secret waterfall, the mother looking for them as they skipped school to do so, a group of drug runners looking to recover the loot, and a bumbling, and a sexually lonely park ranger with a love for guns. This contrast in characters allows Ms. Banks to capture audiences from many different angles with a short, basic backstory and quick means to keep the action flowing without long drawn-out dialogue sequences. Of course with the quirks of each character, the room for quick laughs and exaggerated stunts keeps the theatre crowd laughing while secretly cheering for the bear to get each and every one of them.

As the original Cocaine Bear did not actually kill any of the park tourists, the movie version allows for an impressive body count that satisfies the horror crowd and keeps the nature of a rampaging black bear as a worthy main villain of the piece. 

Filled with corny laughs, original kill scenes, and an overall what-if aspect, Cocaine Bear offers more questions than answers. But is a film that is not meant to be taken seriously, crowds can sit back and have fun with this one. Are there open-ended plot holes, sure. Are there characters that could have been developed more? Yes. But did we need any more than what the film offered? No. Cocaine Bear delivered exactly what we were looking for, a fun night out.

Rating 7/10 for:

  • Lots of laughs 
  • Great characters, shout out to Margo Martindale for the ambulance scene
  • Special effects of the bear and the blood lust
  • Short runtime keeps the focus on the balance of action in contrast to the story.
  • Cinemetopharphy captures the setting and the vastness of Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest. 

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