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Movie Review: 'Cocaine Bear' is as Good as the Memes it Created

Cocaine Bear very funny

By Abimanyu G RPublished 7 months ago 4 min read
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Cocaine Bear (2023)

Directed by Elizabeth Banks

Written by Jimmy Warden

Starring Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Ray Liotta, O'Shea Jackson, Alden Ehrenreich

Starring Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Ray Liotta, O'Shea Jackson, Alden Ehrenreich

Cocaine Bear: A Hilarious and Gory Dark Comedy

Cocaine Bear is a hilarious and gory dark comedy directed by Elizabeth Banks that delivers a Black Bear that is high on cocaine. The premise of the movie is bizarre, but it mostly lives up to its promise of being a wildly funny, deeply absurd, and goofily violent movie. Being high on cocaine, the bear becomes highly aggressive, angry, and agitated, turning into a violent, murderous beast, especially if you happen to have some more cocaine on you.

The movie opens with a very funny scene where a man high on cocaine is dancing around an airplane, tossing bags filled with cocaine off the plane and into a mountainous area of Georgia. He plans on letting the plane crash to divert attention from the massive amounts of cocaine being dropped from it. Unfortunately, before he can leap out of the plane to accompany his cargo, he manages to knock himself unconscious and fall out of the plane to his death. This death sets the tone for a violent, disturbing, and quite funny dark comedy.

Once we've established that there is cocaine in the forest and a bear has ingested a lot of it, we watch as disparate groups of people head into the forest, mostly unaware that cocaine has turned a mostly docile bear into a ravenous, cocaine-addicted monster. Among the main cast are a pair of children played by Brooklynn Prince and Christian Convery, who are skipping school for an adventure. Hot on their trail is the girl's mother, played by Keri Russell, accompanied by a Forest Ranger, played by Margo Martindale, and her crush, an animal care advocate played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Once we've established that there is cocaine in the forest and a bear has ingested a lot of it, we watch as disparate groups of people head into the forest, mostly unaware that cocaine has turned a mostly docile bear into a ravenous, cocaine-addicted monster. Among the main cast are a pair of children played by Brooklynn Prince and Christian Convery, who are skipping school for an adventure. Hot on their trail is the girl's mother, played by Keri Russell, accompanied by a Forest Ranger, played by Margo Martindale, and her crush, an animal care advocate played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Then, there are the drug dealers, out to retrieve their drugs. O'Shea Jackson and Alden Erhenreich are flunkies for a drug dealer, played by Ray Liotta. They are to retrieve the drugs by any means necessary or possibly face the wrath of Colombian drug kingpins. They will be joined unwillingly by a police detective, played by Isaiah Whitlock. The detective has been looking for a way to bust Liotta's drug dealer, and he sees getting these bags of cocaine as a chance to put Liotta behind bars. Naturally, they will all come face to face with a bear that is off its face on cocaine, and each will be lucky if they manage to get out of the forest intact.

The bear on human violence in Cocaine Bear is as gory and hilarious as the trailer promises. Watching the bear attack hapless victims, those aware and unaware of the bear being under the influence, is truly hysterical, shocking, bloody, and well accomplished. Various different body parts cut from bodies are used to show how shocking and horrific these deaths are, yet the film keeps some of the worst violence offscreen. Director Elizabeth Banks mostly pulls off the tricky balance between playing for laughs and scares. We still get a strong amount of blood and guts, but not so much that the film would receive an NC-17 rating, a rating it would surely earn if we were to see more of these gory attacks.

Cocaine Bear has a tricky tone, as it is playing for laughs and scares. The film achieves a tone that is just about perfect in capturing the absurdity of a bear on cocaine and the fear of those who come across this coc'd up bear. Banks does well not to make her characters unlikable; you're not asked to root for the bear, aside from maybe a few moments at the end when the bad guy of the movie is doing bad guy things. Then, you kind of want to see Cocaine Bear provide some retribution. Beyond that, however, the characters are all likable and play their confusion over a bear that is high.

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Abimanyu G R

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