Cocaine Bear knows exactly the movie it wants to be. There are no interconnected universes to tie in. There are no deep messages to explore. Director Elizabeth Banks goes hard into B-movie territory with an ensemble cast that looks like they’re plain just having loads of fun. The film embraces the drug fueled rampage of a bear high on cocaine, delivering a hilarious, bloody, and downright scary adventure. It’s cocaine and bears; what more could anyone ask for?
After a drug smuggling operation goes terribly wrong and kilos of cocaine are dumped into the Georgia wilderness, a bear accidentally ingests multiple bricks of the drug, resulting in it leaving a trail of blood and powder as it runs amok in a national park in search of more. As more and more people descend on the park for various reasons, from the drug smugglers looking for their product to a mom in search of her kid and their friend, each comes face to face with the terrifying, coked up beast in search of a bigger high.
And boy does Cocaine Bear aim high as its puts audiences in a drug induced haze where you question everything you’re seeing in the best way possible. The film embraces its B-movie status and actually ends up delivering something more akin to a cult classic. Elizabeth Banks tows the line between “so bad it’s good” territory, landing on the side of just plain good. Everything about the film, from the plot to the characters, is ridiculous. Drug addicted bears, a broken hearted son of a drug lord looking to share in his feelings, a detective who just wants a dog who will play fetch; it all sounds outrageous and yet within the confines of Cocaine Bear it works. In this film, nothing is too crazy.
Cocaine Bear works because everyone embraces the chaos. The film includes a great cast consisting of Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Christian Convery, Alden Ehrenreich, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Margo Martindale, and the late Ray Liotta in his final film performance. Everyone gives it their all. Keri Russell is the grounded, straight faced mother of the group who is only concerned for her daughter (Brooklynn Prince) and her friend (Christian Convery) who have skipped school to paint a waterfall only to run into the cocaine bear. Everyone else feels like their characters are all on various levels of cocaine as well. Alden Ehrenreich is hilarious as a guy who is trying to sort out his feelings while searching for the remaining duffel bags of cocaine with his partner (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), who himself is more concerned about his clothes and his shoes than anything else. Meanwhile Margo Martindale plays a park ranger who is trying to flirt with an inspector (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), but finds herself pulling her gun on everyone except the bear. A bear high on cocaine is just one of the many outrageous scenarios played out in the film, each one contributing to the laughs or the horror of the film in its own special way.
Of course the bear itself is the highlight of the film. It will stop at nothing in its pursuit of that white nose candy and will dismember any person that gets in its way. The gore in Cocaine Bear is brutal and not for the faint of heart. Limbs fly every which way and blood spatters all over every surface. This is one film where the saying, “If it’s brown, lay down. If it’s black, fight back.” does not apply. If it’s high, prepare to die.
Cocaine Bear does not hold back. It buries its head in a big ol’ pile of cocaine and inhales deep. The resulting high is a mix of laughs, disgust, horror, and humor. The film is no doubt targeted towards a specific audience. Fans of films like Super Troopers or Pineapple Express will have a blast. Even before release the film has already garnered a cult like status. It’s simply a highly enjoyable dark comedy that is pure popcorn entertainment. There’s no question of whether or not you should watch Cocaine Bear. The answer is simply yes.
Cocaine Bear knows exactly the movie it wants to be. There are no interconnected universes to tie in. There are no deep messages to explore. Director Elizabeth Banks goes hard into B-movie territory with an ensemble cast that looks like they’re plain just having loads of fun. The film embraces the drug fueled rampage of a bear high on cocaine, delivering a hilarious, bloody, and downright scary adventure.