It’s not often that a movie’s title perfectly encapsulates what audiences can expect, but Cocaine Bear is a rare exception. Directed by Elizabeth Banks and written by Jimmy Warden, this comedy/thriller is loosely based on a true story and follows a bear that becomes addicted to cocaine after a drug smuggler’s plane crashes in a Georgia forest. The bear goes on a rampage, encountering a variety of characters, including Sari (Keri Russell), Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich), and park ranger Liz (Margo Martindale).
At its best, Cocaine Bear is delightfully unhinged and over-the-top, with a comical approach to heightened situational; it’s almost a throwback to the slasher flicks of the 1980s, complete with outlandish gore and gratuitous violence. The one-joke premise may not be for everyone, but for those who can appreciate the absurdity of a coke-crazed bear, “Cocaine Bear” delivers on its promise of laughs and thrills.
However, the film sometimes offers a bit of sincerity to the situation, which feels at odds with the overall tone. That, coupled with some weaker moments of comedy, especially with the more prominent names on the call sheet, holds the movie back a bit.
Despite some misses in execution, Cocaine Bear delivers on the promise of its title, and the unapologetic bloodiness makes it worth the price of admission alone. Fans of offbeat comedies will find plenty to enjoy as this wild ride is precisely what it advertises – a bear on cocaine. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, then this is the movie for you. It may not be high art, but it’s the purest of entertainment.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5
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